Fact Check: Robert Kraft Claims Vladimir Putin Stole His Super Bowl Ring. Here's What We Know

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Russian President Vladimir Putin stole a Super Bowl ring from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.


Rating: Unproven
Rating: Unproven

On May 6, 2024, Barstool Sports posted a video clip from one of its podcasts in which the hosts described how Russian President Vladimir Putin once stole a Super Bowl ring from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

According to the sports news outlet, Kraft handed Putin the ring when the pair met in 2005 after the Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in their third Super Bowl victory. However, the host said the Russian leader had no intention of giving the prized possession back:

Putin puts it on and he says: "I can kill someone with this ring."

Robert Kraft put his hand out and Putin put the ring in his pocket. Three KGB guys got around him and they walked out.

The White House got on the phone with him and said: "It would really be in the best interest of U.S.-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present."

Barstool Sports captioned the video: "The story of how Vladimir Putin stole a Super Bowl ring from Robert Kraft."

The post had amassed more than 490,000 views at the time of this writing.

However, the claim appeared online long before Barstool Sports' post. Examples can be seen on Reddit in 2022, Facebook in 2017, and on X in 2013.

Multiple news outlets reported the story over the years, and Kraft had likewise repeatedly retold it since 2005. However, some of the details in the billionaire's numerous anecdotes about the so-called theft varied with each retelling, which is why we rated this claim "Unproven."


According to a June 30, 2005, New England Patriots news release, Kraft released a statement the previous day saying he gave the Russian leader the ring on June 25 "as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin."

But in June 2013, numerous credible news outlets said the businessman told an awards gala in New York that Putin took the iconic jewellery without permission. CNN, the BBC and The Guardian all reported the aforementioned quote referenced in the Barstool Sports clip and sourced it to New York Post's online site Page Six.

The above reports said the Russian leader denied stealing the ring via his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, and offered to buy the Patriots owner another. However, in response, a spokesperson for the Kraft Group said the Patriots owner's comments should not be taken too seriously.

"It's a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert retells for laughs," spokesperson Stacey James reportedly said, before adding:

He loves that his ring is at the Kremlin, and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin. In particular, he credits President Putin for modernising the Russian economy.

On Jan. 19, 2017, Kraft told NFL.com he showed the ring to Putin, who "put it on, and he sort of enjoyed it so he kept it on."

He did not say whether or not he intended to permanently part ways with the prized possession.

Then, on May 5, 2024, the billionaire explicitly urged Putin to return the ring during Netflix's "The Roast of Tom Brady."

"And one more thing. In case, Vladimir Putin, you're watching, give me my f***ing ring back, will you?" Kraft said on stage.


Karimi, Alla Eshchenko, Faith. 'Russian President: I Did Not Steal Super Bowl Ring'. CNN, 16 June 2013, https://www.cnn.com/2013/06/16/world/europe/russia-putin-ring/index.html.

NFL. That Time Vladimir Putin Stole Robert Kraft's Super Bowl Ring | TBT | The Ring Is the Thing. 2017. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggqb4wUpa5w.

Pats Owner Kraft Says Ring a Gift to Putin. https://www.patriots.com/news/pats-owner-kraft-says-ring-a-gift-to-putin-166976. Accessed 6 June 2024.

Press, Associated. 'Putin Offers to Replace Patriots Owner Robert Kraft's "stolen" Super Bowl Ring'. The Guardian, 17 June 2013. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/jun/17/putin-patriots-kraft-super-bowl-ring.

'Russia's Putin Rejects Kraft Super Bowl Ring Claim'. BBC News, 17 June 2013. www.bbc.co.uk, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-22931874.

Staff, PageSix com. Kraft: Putin Stole Bowl Ring | Page Six. 15 June 2013, https://pagesix.com/2013/06/15/kraft-putin-stole-bowl-ring/.

Watch The Roast of Tom Brady | Netflix Official Site. https://www.netflix.com/title/81577726. Accessed 6 June 2024.

'X.Com'. X (Formerly Twitter), https://x.com/_MLFootball/status/1787310076417425616. Accessed 6 June 2024.

'---'. X (Formerly Twitter), https://x.com/cjzero/status/1787309736280330543. Accessed 6 June 2024.