Brady Takes Heat For Using Kipling Poem In Tribute Tweet to Teammates

rudyard_kipling_portraittom_brady_2016It takes a lot to get me to support Tom Brady and the Patriots as a lifelong Bears fan.  However, there is a bizarre controversy after Brady posted a picture of his Super Bowl winning team with a quotation from Rudyard Kipling’s 1898 poem If on Instagram and Twitter.  That unleashed an outcry from some who denounced the poem as written by a racist.  Other said that, given Brady’s support of Donald Trump, the use of the poem was alarming.  Perhaps the critics should also consider another quote from Kipling: “I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.”


Kipling wrote during the heyday of the British Empire and reflected the values and pride of that period.  He wrote favorably about the British colonies and coined the infamous phrase “white man’s burden.”  Yahoo writer Daniel Roberts tied Brady’s use of Kipling to his support for Trump by tweeting: “Considering all the vitriol over Brady’s friendship w/ Trump, mayyybe Rudyard Kipling (“The White Man’s Burden) not the best poet to quote.”  In fairness to Roberts, I think he was making a humorous aside and not necessarily endorsing the move against writers and figures deemed to be symbols of a racist era.
Other followed suit with criticism of the use of the classic poem.  Others noted that he did not credit Kipling though it is clear that he is quoting from a poem.  As I have discussed before, there is a growing opposition to reading the words for authors who reflected racist values or imagery prevalent in their times.  I believe such work needs to be considered in the context of their time.  I see no reason why Brady should not quote the poem which seems quite apropos for his message of overcoming opposition and criticism.  Here is the poem:
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

123 thoughts on “Brady Takes Heat For Using Kipling Poem In Tribute Tweet to Teammates”

  1. Thank you for this post! I appreciate the calm handling of the issue. Everyone was “racist” at the time. It should also be remembered that many of the reviled words weren’t considered insults in that day, either. I still love Kipling, and I love If. It’s been a great inspiration to me. Here’s to more education and less instant, unthinking judgement!

  2. The poem, without the history, is relevant today for both men and women, with a few grammatical changes. I know no one who can claim to have achieved the full status of the poem, but if it inspires some to try it has served it’s purpose and is a positive in today’s ugly world full of people who don’t. Good words come from all sources.

  3. Stupid people. I recommend the perpetually offended read “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon”.

    Also, Rikki Tikki Tavi! Talk about racist! Mammals VS reptiles!

    “One can never have too many books, red wine, or ammunition.” – R.K.

  4. This is the same as the BS going on with Mark Twain. Kipling was a great writer. The poem ‘IF’ is pinned to my wall and the wall in our son’s room. It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with the human condition, shared by all races. This is another example of the stupidity of the extremes.

    The greatest stupidity of these idiots is that history will be rewritten to omit the atrocious behavior of mankind and it will happen again. It is already happening among those angry people who have no idea of the issues, history, or truth; but latch on to the first Dr. Feel Good that comes along graphically identifying the targets and the good guys. Hitler rewrote history. Stalin rewrote history. Mao rewrote history. It all starts with the lies and then when those lies come into contact with the truth and the lies prevail, it has started.

  5. What is wrong with people these days? We used to be a tolerant society but now not. We used to be inclusive, but now not. Why don’t those that are offended learn to “suck it up”? Many times, growing up, my brother got to do fun things with my cousin, a boy, because my aunt and uncle favored him. My cousin and I were very close because of age and common interests but his parents preferred he spend time with my younger brother rather than me. My parents said “live with it” and I did. I’ve learned to live with such things. Today’s youth have not learned this lesson, worse still they have been instilled with the idea that things that don’t go their way are “unfair”. These people wander around, never happy with what is going on in their world, and looking for someone to blame. This produces a society of restless and unsatisfied people that lash out. Higher learning exacerbates this. It’s time for a reality check, I think……

        1. While the Trump administration targets brown people for deportations, race is off limits to the Bannonites. That is by design.

          1. “If” those that got Trump elected were actually the racists you imagine them to be, the last thing you would want to do to find a connection with them is to insult them. To make matters worse, “if” they are not the racists you believe they are, you will solidify their opposition to you for life. The only way conservatives abandon Trump is “if” he moves Left, proves to be a racist, abandons the rule of law and refuses to respect the separation of powers.

            But then understanding and accepting any of that would require a broader worldview than these Lefties possess.

    1. That topic was discussed in the British Parliament with regards to the Trump visit. You might educate yourself and listen to the debate.

      1. Remember this: They will change their position just like when the people of Britain told them they wanted out of the EU. That shocked people in Britain like you didn’t it and your still in shock. That vote put a damper on what they saw happening to mainland Europe and said “not here” and good for the people of Britain. Racism, you’ve used the word so often on everything that it’s lost it’s impact.

          1. anon – my junior Senator Flake charges people to have coffee with him. I find it offensive, so I don’t go.

      1. Cleverly they invited him when Parliament is in recess so they avoid the embarrassment seeing his desire to address Parliament be rejected. The heads of government have no chose but to be diplomatic toward an American President, the rowdy English public …not so much. I will enjoy seeing him “visit” public places in urban areas and get the” raspberry” every step of the way. In Ireland Trump is affectionately known as SH*tGibbon…This should be educational.

    1. Here me snoring?
      You’re so boring.
      Just like Al Gore
      Who went before
      Died on the vine
      In no time

      At all.

  6. Nice poem, I like it. The Patriots won Brady played well and to his credit he didn’t turn on his friend President Trump for the next 4 years or more. Using the old chestnut “racist” to silence your opposition or to throw them off stride, well it’s just that old and should faze no one. Rudyard gone all these years and your getting under the skin of these weenies as the Brits say Brilliant.

  7. The Left is certainly doing some Olympic-size mental gymnastics to defame anyone or anything that might put Trump in a good light. Does the average American put 10 seconds of thought into stories like this? IMO, this story requires an obsession by the usual suspects; those on the Left that would attack conservatism and those on the Right that would defend it. The other 40% or so in the middle have recognized for quite some time there is no there, there. The electorate has responded to this crap in a very profound way, and it has the Left scrambling for a message that would resonate.

    “If” the Left does not, can not, will not abandon this sort of folly they will be without a chair when the music stops in 2018, 2020 and beyond. So far they are tone-deaf and simply turning up the volume won’t make what they have to say sound any better

    1. “A very interesting election analysis at RealClearPolitics concluded that by moving farther to the left—farther toward the politics of Bernie Sander and Elizabeth Warren—Democrats have managed to build up their majorities in urban and coastal enclaves, at the expense of wiping themselves out everywhere else. “This hurts the Democrats’ chances in the Electoral College, and kills them in the House and Senate.” The only way to reverse this is the way Rahm Emanuel did it: revive the conservative Democrat.”

      1. Who cares? Let ’em sink. We can come up with another party slight left of center. The Dems have relinquished any claim on legitimacy and if they don’t stop their sour grapes philosophy of “taking it to the streets,” maybe any claim to their freedom.

      2. Olly, RealClearPolitics is a liberal site – all about HRC and her merry band of miscreants. The only way to save the Demoncrats if if they become Progressive. Hell, I have many Republican friends who would have voted for Bernie over Trump if that had been an option. Independents like myself are looking with amusement as the Libs refuse to face facts, do an autopsy, and continue putting forth elitest, corporate friendly, pro war pols. The only Dem we Progressives could get behind is Tulsi Gabbard – but the establishment Dems hate her.

        Glenn Greenwald (and commenters) lay it out well IMO:

        1. Your “Progressives for Trump” group must feel like they are living in a nightmare.

  8. What is to be expected when Huck Finn can no longer be read in schools. And can you imagine what would happen to the film professor who made the mistake of showing Blazing Saddles in class?

  9. As I have said many times, PC was a major reason Trump was elected. If leftists keep this horsesh!t up the 22nd Amendment might be abolished.

    1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once.

      So theoretically if the timing was right they could get two or less than by assumption and eight on their own.

      However that brings to mind Act of Succession..How many realize after the first three VP, Speaker, President Pro Tempore The next in the line up are people with zero votes? Just when you need them running their departments with a firm hand. I’ve often thought the order after VP should be

      Senators, then Governors, then Representatives. as long as it’s the same party. that’s who was voted in and the order is the amount of votes. A Governor of Rhode Island or Wyoming might have less votes than a District of a representative but somehow I doubt it.

      Keeps palace coups to a minimum

      So scenario Trump does six of eight and a few days and then Pence can do ten. Hows that?

      1. one idea on the two year rule is have an option of the successor choosing two and running for office once or twice and six but not allowed to run again.

  10. Perhaps Daniel Roberts was right. Ernesto Guevara would recite “If” from memory. Brady apparently believes we need Trump as the country’s caudillo.

    1. I would never have guessed that of Ernie. Fiebre de Lenin yes. Kipling No. As for part II

      DEGUELLO! Say does Trump own a White Horse?

      PS that is a line out of history and is not meant to be equinist.

    1. Never judge anything in the context of our times for one you’ll too often be disappointed. Always judge in the context of the time being examined and then ONLY when you have a thorough understanding of those times. Then and only then take the lessons learned from history and….do try not to make the same mistakes over again?

  11. This has always been one of my favorite poems (even though I am not a man). I learned it at my mother’s knee, and she understood that it had just as much meaning for a woman as a man. I have no love for Brady after the deflategate issue (and I’m not really even a football fan), but criticizing him for this is a real stretch. Some people just look for any little thing to criticize. Perhaps they should read this poem again and learn from it. I don’t know what part Brady quoted, but I’m guessing it was the part about “heart and nerve and sinew.” It seems very apropos to me.

  12. “Kipling: “I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.”
    I prefer to believe the worst, it saves so much time. And when I’m wrong, I’m pleasantly surprised.

  13. Perhaps it’s the message of the poem as much as the author they object to. It would seem to be rather appropriate to the current times. It rather well describes the kinds of things we’re all having to deal with and watch our leaders deal with in today’s world.

  14. So how is the “white man’s burden” (bad) really any different from “affirmative action” (good)? Both are based on the concept that whites have to give minorities a boost because they can’t compete on their own.

    1. Been pushing the idea of the Afro-Americans and Latino Americans taking over the defunct DNC and partya and I see of the 11 shown in a photo trying for the some have taken the advice. My thought was with the white ID regressive seculars marginalized waaaaayyyy over on the extremist left, some members going green and some going IDC it was a good time and high time for the party of slavery and anti-civil rights to be seized and that stain wiped out particular by those who have suffered the most.

      Speaking as a Constitutional moderate centrist promoting our stance of representative democracy as a strong foundation for our Constitutional Republic it seemed the best way keep out the ‘wrong’ elements and keep them over on the far left with Hegel, Kant, Engels, Lenin, where they belong.

      I am excluding of course the socialist roaders and such. Besides they are now under investigation along with the Clintons etc. and won’t have time to run a full fledges rebuild of a real party. Bag Lady Huma and Firewall Lynch for example.

      1. What are your feelings on Gen Flyn giving aid and comfort to the enemy or probable treasonous so called president DT?

        1. Shhhhhh……Do not speak ill of anyone in the Trump administration here. My opinion is that Flynn may yet be the fall guy for the kleptocracy.

    2. The difference is that the white man’s burden was a pretext for racist exploitation and oppression. British colonialism had no more to do with giving minorities a boost than it was about bringing Christianity to the heathens. It was about stealing resources and pressing non-whites into forced labor to extract those resources so they could be exploited by Britain. Just as white Americans liked to claim that slavery was a civilizing force and beneficial to blacks.

      Oh, and if affirmative action is about helping people who can’t compete on their own, what are alumni preferences and other forms of white-favoring privileges about? If any such policy helps those who can’t compete, why were there ever racially exclusive policies favoring whites in the first place?

      1. “Just as white Americans liked to claim that slavery was a civilizing force and beneficial to blacks.”

        What did the black slave-owners claim was their motivation? Affirmative action?

        As I said, tone deaf. 🙂

        1. Olly, your post reminded me of how the Cherokees who owned slaves who forced them to march the Trail of Tears to OK. After Emancipation many blacks chose to stay on the rez as they identified culturally with the Indians. And they were considered to be part of the tribe UNTIL the Cherokees started making lots of $$ from the casinos which afforded a stipend to all tribe members. All of a sudden those blacks were kicked to the curb.

          Greed and power is color-blind – all people – white, black, red, what-have-you have taken advantage of others – some in more horrible ways than others. It’s an unfortunate aspect of human nature.

        2. For the vast majority of black slave-owners, the motivation was to purchase their family members so they could be set free. Since they couldn’t leave while some members were still enslaved by others, they would gradually buy their own family members until they could all be freed. And in states where free blacks could be re-enslaved, keeping them technically owned prevented that from happening.

      2. The Brits enslaved plenty of white non-British. See Michael Hoffman’s writings on this subject. The title is something like, “I Was A White Slave,” or “They Were White And They Were Slaves.”

        White US oligarchs use new, improved, modern techniques to enslave all color of nation-serfs. We use the power of the US Central Bank and aircraft carriers parked outside foreign government windows to force their knees to bend to US financial whims.

        The (Al) CIA-da supplied guns, intelligence, and billion$ to Muslim mass murderers to kidnap, anal rape, and kill Gaddafi. (Video posted of the event, which shall go down in history as the apex of HRC’s work for the so-called Shadow Government. The late Michael Piper makes a strong case that the CIA recruited Bill Clinton, HRC, and John Kerry while they attended college. HRC’s aide showed HRC video of HRC’s successful assassination of Gaddafi. HRC prepared for an interview, and did not know a mic and camera recorded the event for posterity. Mass murderer HRC cackled like the evil, possessed scum she is, saying, “We came, we saw, he died!”)

        Africa is the new China, the fastest growing economy and store of untapped wealth and growth potential on earth.

        A short time before HRC anal raped and killed Gadaffi, Gadaffi appeared at a pan-Africa forum, in which he strongly and eloquently petitioned his fellow African rulers, to institute a pan-African currency, with which to negotiate as one voice with foreign nations intent on financial raping and pillaging of the African continent.

        Coincidence? Me thinks not.

    3. “The White Man’s Burden” is specifically about the US entry into imperialism after the Spanish-American War, written by Kipling (then living in the US) to encourage our ownership of the Phillipines as a duty God places upon the superior (in Kipling’s view) white race to care for its “captives” “half devil and half child.” It is an explicitly and deliberately racist poem, and, even at the time (it’s probably one of the most parodied poems in literary history) condemned as such. That is, Kipling’s anti-native racism (which seemed to be an overriding issue for him from the time he wrote “Kim” on) was less a product of his times than a reflection of his personal beliefs. Prior to writing Kim he seemed more of a traditional Anglo-Indian type, with a patronizing but not generally hateful view of his darker-skinned fellow Indians.

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