Another Scandal Rocks America
The past month has seen its share of scandals involving U.S. government agencies overstepping their bounds and doing bad, bad things.
First it was the Internal Revenue Service—everyone’s favorite—which targeted conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status and scrutinized them more closely than anyone else. In fact, they developed something called the “Be On the Look Out” list, which set forth guidelines about which organizations to watch more closely.
Groups that referenced the phrase “Tea Party” raised an eyebrow, but so did anyone lobbying to “make America a better place to live.”
Yes, I can see how happiness and prosperity might seem suspicious. Many of us have gone without them for so long we wouldn’t even know the difference any more.
The second government agency making scandalous headlines these days is, of course, the National Security Agency.
Just over a week ago, American and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about a secret electronic surveillance program known as PRISM to The Washington Post and The Guardian—a program that even monitored the phone records of American citizens in many cases. And ever since, he has been in hiding somewhere in Hong Kong, inspiring protests and praying that the Chinese government will protect him from U.S. retribution.
In most countries, two scandals in only a month’s time would be more than enough to keep the tabloid headlines running and to satisfy gossip mongers everywhere. But America is the land of upsizing and living large—and this week, we tossed one more into the proverbial ring—this word will seem more significant in a moment, I assure you.
The latest “bombshell” comes from an unlikely source: the NFL and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
In 2005, Kraft was in Saint Petersburg, Russia and had an opportunity to meet the president whose last name sounds like an eruptive bodily function. During their encounter, Putin took a shine to one of the Super Bowl rings Kraft was wearing. He asked to hold it and Kraft obviously complied.
I mean, you don’t say no to the Russian president, right? Actually, maybe you do… or should.
After admiring the ring, putting it on his finger and saying something to the extent of “I could kill someone with this ring,” Putin put it in his pocket and eventually, it ended up being displayed in the Kremlin Library.
At the time, Kraft claimed that he gave the ring to Putin as a gift and released the following statement: “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.”
What a nice gesture. Giving away a Super Bowl ring in the interest of world peace? Truly remarkable.
Too bad that isn’t what really happened.
According to a recent report by the New York Post—which referenced a speech Kraft gave on Thursday at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala—he claimed his original story was false and that Putin actually stole his ring. And what’s worse, the U.S. government asked him to cover it up!
Here’s how it allegedly went down:
Kraft met Putin, who liked his ring. He asked to hold it and since no one denies Putin—not to be confused with pooting, which we have all denied at one time or another—Kraft handed it to him. Putin put it on, made the comment I mentioned earlier and slipped the ring into his pocket, even though Kraft was holding out his hand to retrieve his cherished bauble.
Before Kraft realized what happened, three KGB agents surrounded the Russian President and escorted him out of the room, Super Bowl ring and all.
Upon returning to the States, Kraft demanded his ring be returned and instead received a request from the White House, at that time being run by George W. Bush: “It would really be in the best interest of U.S.-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.”
And that’s exactly what Kraft did. I guess you could call him a patriot who owns the Patriots, at least in terms of contributing to world diplomacy… one jewel-encrusted ring at a time.
I wonder what the next scandal will be.
Posted on June 15, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged commentary, current-events, George W. Bush, Kraft, news, perspectives, Putin, scandal, Super Bowl ring, United States Federal Government. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.