The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Putin and the Pats

In what has got to rank as one of the weirdest stories of the week, questions abounded yesterday when Russian President Vladimir Putin pocketed New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's 2005 Super Bowl ring. Did Kraft give Vlad the ring? Did Putin steal the ring and dare the capitalist American to pry it from his cold, dead, former KGB hands?

Kraft had this to say about Putin and the incident:

"I looked into his eyes, and I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to the New England Patriots, and the best interests of the NFL."

Ok, not really. Kraft actually said this:

"At the end of a very productive, three-hour business meeting with President Putin ... I showed the president my most recent Super Bowl ring. "Upon seeing the ring, President Putin, a great and knowledgeable sports fan, was clearly taken with its uniqueness. At that point, I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin."

Well what would you expect Kraft to say? It's not as if he'd actually ever be able to get it back if ol' Teddy KGB had actually stolen it. So why not try to spin it?

My thoughts on the matter? I think Putin swiped the ring, Kraft politely asked for it back, and Vlad told him no. On top of that, Teddy told Kraft the Russian mob would be taking over the Patriot's ticket sales (silly Russians, don't they know the real money's in the TV contracts) for the 2005 season, with Russian options for '06 and '07. In exchange for this, and future point shaving promises, Kraft gets sole naming rights to Russia (think... Russia presented by Bob Kraft).

Anyways, that's what I think happened.

And if you don't think I'm not going on some Russki 'watch list' for this post, you seriously underestimate our Russian comrades.