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Political football: Patriots gave Trump a Super Bowl ring
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BOSTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has a Super Bowl championship ring — just like Vladimir Putin.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave Trump the diamond-encrusted ring. The sitting president usually receives gifts from sports teams during celebratory White House visits — a personalized jersey is standard — but Kraft gave Trump a ring as well, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Tuesday.
Kraft decided after the team’s April visit to have a ring made for Trump so he would have something special to display in his presidential library, the team said. The rings were distributed to Patriots players and staff in June; it was not clear when Trump got his.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
The NFL pays up to $5,000 apiece for 150 rings for its champion, with teams picking up anything over that. The Patriots’ 2017 ring — their fifth— is white gold with more than 280 diamonds and a carat weight of 5.1. According to Josten’s, the ring manufacturer, it is the largest Super Bowl ring ever made — bigger than the Patriots’ 2015 rings that were valued at $36,500 apiece.
The ring goes not only to players and coaches but team staffers and others, including quarterback Tom Brady’s mother, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Some receive a less-expensive version of the ring; it was not clear which version Trump was given.
According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, Trump is allowed to accept a gift from Kraft, a longtime friend, as long as the president included it on his annual financial disclosure report and did not solicit it or receive it in exchange for the promise of any official act. (Trump’s disclosure report isn’t due until May.)
Kraft has won five rings as owner of the Patriots, but the original prize from the team’s 2005 Super Bowl victory is on display at the Kremlin. During a business trip to Russia, the NFL owner showed Putin the ring and he pocketed it, saying he thought it was a gift.
Trump’s ring was first divulged when former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci responded to a question from the moderator of the Patriots’ Reddit board. Scaramucci responded with the previously undisclosed detail that Trump also had a ring from the most recent Super Bowl.
Scaramucci did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Kraft and Trump have a long friendship. They grew closer after the death of the owner’s wife, Myra, when Kraft said the New York businessman was especially supportive. Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick also made comments in support of Trump during his presidential campaign.