Patriots owner tells Putin: ‘Give me my f‑‑‑ing ring back’

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft called out Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, telling the leader to give him his “f‑‑‑ing ring back,” in reference to a long-running allegation that Putin stole one of his Super Bowl rings during a 2005 meeting.

The remark came during Sunday night’s “roast” of former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was the center of jokes from former Patriots coach Bill Belichick, comedian Kevin Hart and past Patriots teammates during the event, which was broadcast live on Netflix.

With the mic in hand, Kraft poked fun at his former star quarterback, but also to spoke directly to Putin, telling the camera, “In case Vladimir Putin, you’re watching … give me my f‑‑‑ing ring back, will you?”

The controversy over the ring was brought back into the spotlight in March after the release of Apple TV’s “The Dynasty” series, based on Jeff Benedict’s hit book about the rise of the New England Patriots.

In the 2020 book, Benedict wrote about how Kraft, in 2005, accepted an invitation from banker Sanford Weill to travel to Russia with Rupert Murdoch and a group of high-profile CEOs to meet with Putin and “stimulate commerce” between the U.S. and Russia. The meeting took place in the summer of 2005, months after the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX.

“Afterward, as the American business leaders posed for a group photo with Putin, Weill encouraged Kraft to show his Super Bowl ring to the Russian leader. Kraft retrieved it from his pocket and handed it to Putin,” Benedict wrote in “The Dynasty.”

“Putin admired the ring’s size and its 124 diamonds. ‘I could kill someone with this ring,’ he said as he slipped it on his finger and made a fist.”

Kraft allegedly told Putin he could “kill someone without it,” since he was “the head of the KGB,” Benedict wrote.

“As Putin removed the ring, Kraft put out his hand. But Putin slipped the ring into his own pocket,” Benedict wrote. “Perplexed, Kraft looked at Weill, who subtly shook his head from side to side, signaling Kraft not to say anything. But Putin was stealing his ring. Kraft couldn’t believe it.”

Days after the meeting, reports over the controversy circulated and the Russian government maintained the ring was a gift, per the book.

Kraft later received a call from the then-President George W. Bush’s White House, which “suggested it would be in the country’s best interest if Kraft put an end to the controversy by stating publicly that he had intended the ring to be a gift,” according to the book.

Kraft eventually honored the Bush administration’s request and released a statement that he gave Putin the ring “as a symbol of the respect and administration” for the Russian people and Putin.

Kraft has won a total of six Super Bowl rings with the Patriots.

The Hill reached out to the Russian government for comment.

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