That All Men Are Created Equal

I want to change tacks (a sailing term by the way) diverging from my recent COVID-19 posts, and share some other news I found peculiar and enlightening yesterday, Friday, May 15. My readers who are sports fans, particularly football/futebol fans (Ark, John Z), should find this interesting, I hope.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Some of you know that I am an avid football/soccer fan. I played The World’s Most Beautiful Game all my life, had a very successful collegiate career, and a rather short, average pro career then semi-pro career. All that to say, that along with the Canarinha, or Little Canaries of Brazil, I enjoy keeping up with our U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams, their schedule, who is coming up through the ranks as Wonder Kids and how our Youth Development is progressing compared to the Juggernauts of world football’s Pantheon. So off we go!

US Constitution and 3 Branches

From our Declaration of Independence, 1776:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That all men are created equal.” What does that mean exactly? How does it translate to 21st century America? Does it mean equality for all Americans? Does it mean a nation without prejudice, without discrimination and racism, and tolerance for same-sex marriage? If your honest about all of American history, in all aspects of American life, then the answer is no. Some Americans are not equal and do not have equal opportunity as others.

And even 244-years later Americans are still confused and fighting each other as to how those famous opening words translate. So in our Declaration of Independence, later spelled out in much more detail in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all her Articles and Amendments it was further defined and explicitly and implicitly explained, protected, and enforced by our Three Branches of Government. And yet many of us are still confused, sometimes fighting each other, and still practicing and supporting modern forms of discrimination, prejudice, and inequality in too many areas of American life. Case and point, from the U.S. Soccer Federation website May 15, 2020…

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION AND THE U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION

Today the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation released the following joint statement: 

We have come to an agreement that we believe is in the best interest for the sport in the United States. As we move forward, the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work together to provide access and opportunities for all soccer players across the country, particularly those in low-income communities and others in need.

USWNT WC celebration

Celebration of the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup win.

That is all they said. Just 74-words long short.

Though the statement isn’t specifically spelled out in detail, barely at all, I believe what the USSF and the USSother-F are indirectly stating has to do with our now decades old Youth Academies and Development Programs across the nation. I find that highly intriguing and worth a bit of discussion should anyone be interested! Yes?

One reason why I find this highly intriguing for the men’s team is that since the late 1990’s and the FIFA 2002 World Cup in S. Korea & Japan—when our USMNT did phenomenally well with many highly accomplished players playing their club ball in Europe at good-to-great, elite, world class clubs with and against the world’s other elite, world-class players and coaches—the USMNT performances since 2002 have been a roller-coaster and shockingly unpredictable qualifying for the World Cups every four years and worse still, out of one of the easiest Confederations to WC-Qualify from:  CONCACAF.

Why is it easy, or should be so easy, for the men’s U.S. National Team to qualify for the World Cup every four years? Mexico does it pretty much every single time. Costa Rica and maybe Panama or Honduras qualify every so often. Three nations qualify out of a total of maybe FOUR traditionally power-house nations; three is perhaps more accurate. Yet, with all the financial clout, resources, and sporting athletes the United States possesses now and has possessed since 1994—when the World Cup was here last and President Reagan promised FIFA and CONCACAF we would have a premier football league by 1996 or 1998. From a 1988 New York Times article:

U.S. Awarded ’94 World Cup Tourney in Soccer

Fricker said the U.S.S.F. will begin developing plans for a national soccer league, one that will encompass in some way teams from existing semiprofessional indoor and outdoor leagues. The league, he said, would operate at three levels, based on ability, to create ”the ideal environment for America to develop highly skilled players.” Presumably, as the 1994 tournament approaches, the best players will win positions on the American team.
by Michael Janofsky, NY Times, accessed 5/15/2020

Unfortunately, none of this has really happened. Not for the boys and men. Why not? One of the USMNT’s most tragic performances since Reagan’s promise to FIFA and Americans in 1988 was not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. We were beaten by Trinidad-Tobago and thus eliminated, and after a very good showing four years earlier in Brazil (see below ESPN video).

Yes, I do believe! I believed in our USMNT not only during the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, but for our national men’s teams from 1994-1998 because we had several talented boys playing for clubs in Europe and South America! Some of them came through the mediocre NCAA-D1 programs, yes. But many of them did not waist those four irreplaceable years, went to play with outstanding foreigners in other divisions and leagues, then went abroad to improve. That is, improve European or South American style. Yes indeed, we had the talent then, we still have it now! What has been going wrong?

Another case and point. Ever since the incredible tournament play in the Group Stage then Round of 16, continuing into the Quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, our absolute pinnacle to-date for soccer history and our boys, and we are still struggling! Something has not been jiving in U.S. men’s national team football, in our professional leagues like the defunct NASL, the old MLPS, the USFL, and now MLS as well as in the Youth Development programs the last 26-years or more? Twenty-six years is a time-span of at least one or two American generations! Do we now have a blurred answer, a sort of iffy cloudy answer now?

What are the USSF and the USSother-F saying, but not saying?

I would love to see your thoughts about this Joint Statement, its implied cause(s), and the implications and possible outcomes.

————

USSF logos - breaker

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

24 thoughts on “That All Men Are Created Equal

    • Well Ark, you are correct there. If it were American football, baseball, or basketball, then not so much politics. Definitely money and its influence, but politics in those three American sports? Not really.

      However, back in 1988 thru today, yes. Politics have crippled the USMNT and Youth Development because too many key figures throughout the USSF, our professional and semi-pro leagues, and many in our youth leagues were (and some still are) non-football experienced leaders with too much power. It is slowly changing; has been since 1996 – 2000. But it has been too slow given the athletic talent pool the U.S. possesses and has always possessed.

      Many of our great basketball athletes, or football, even hockey, are/were accomplished footballers. Sadly, inside the U.S. if a boy wished to pursue a complete career in soccer/football in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, there was just no infrastructure from youth to adult to make it feasible… until very recently. Only our now 17 – 19 yr olds are demonstrating what high-quality Youth Development Programs can achieve: multiple Christian Pulisics, Giovanni Reynas, or Zack Steffens. Yet, even back in the mid- to late 90’s we HAD those talented players! They were playing in Europe or S. America.

      And yet, in my personal opinion, key figures in our USSF, pro leagues, staff, were too many times non-footballers in their own youths and teens. Traditional American pro sports do not translate directly into world football!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh! And I think this Joint Statement by the two USSF’s show ONE great reason why it’s not just politics! It’s thinking that impoverished, low-income (foreign) kids can’t compete or contribute, no matter how talented they are in foreign terms! IMO, this joint statement all but confirms this.

      Like

  1. Sorry, but I lost all interest in professional sports of all types long ago. At the upper levels the whole system is inherently corrupt, largely supported by the taxpayers building billion dollar stadiums and tax breaks for professional leagues that rake in tens of billions of dollars in profits, for teams that are owned by billionaires. While at the same time these insanely profitable sports treat their low level development players like crap, paying them less than poverty wages, if anything at all. Add in a college system that takes advantage of student players, raking in hundreds of millions for the NCAA and the elite colleges, while student players are barely able to eat, then look at the rampant racism and hooliganism sweeping professional soccer in Europe that’s caused teams to be forced to play in front of empty stadiums because of penalties for racism and literal riots by “fans”, and – no, I just can’t stand any of it any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a quick if somewhat sour comment about the “That all men are created equal” and your question, “What does that mean exactly?”

    I’ll tell you, the answer is not what you think or even something you want to hear. But when did that ever stop me? Oh, and it has nothing to do with soccer, sorry to say.

    This typical understanding today reminds me of The Princess Bride. People keep using that quotation in the same way, without ever grasping that they are relying on is a modern understanding of equal rights and freedoms but then applied backwards to the time of the Declaration… which is really quite ridiculous and unbelievably arrogant because for this phrase to be true back in the day assumes by necessity that Jefferson was so stupid, so dull-minded, so hypocritical as a slave owner, that he truly didn’t understand or see embedded inequalities, which makes him out to be an obtuse, stupid, hypocrite. THAT is what it means to presume the words ‘created equal’ at that time contains this modern understanding. And anyone who reads Jefferson knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was not an obtuse stupid hypocrite of a dull-witted man. One of these things just doesn’t belong here. And it’s not this modern opinion of Jefferson’s meaning.

    The phrase in context of the times actually means an American rejection of English primogeniture law, where the eldest male relative inherits the entire estate, which includes both social class position and related titles, which makes the inclusion sensible given the intention of the Declaration – as well over 90% of its content – was to give a listing of grievances justifying rebellion against the ENGLISH Crown. The stated rejection of this inheritance law, that by fiat created unjustified political inequality in a new system of government, at a stroke removed power from above (from God to Crown to gentry) and granted it to all citizens of the rebelling States (citizens meaning not slaves, not women, and with some heated discussion about only those owning land and not a recent immigrant). Hence, the creation of the Electoral College that actually elects the President.

    Why, oh why, do people continue to presume the phrase ‘all men are created equal’ means equality rights and freedoms for all? This gross misunderstanding continues to be taught to generations of students in Civics, presumably so that each student can feel they themselves are smarter and more socially aware than these obtuse and hypocritical Founders… without even needing to read anything further. Why, it’s almost like they inherited a greater intelligence and awareness! Certainly the teachers who spout this nonsensical interpretation generation after generation must believe it about themselves or they would stop doing it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha… So Tildeb, let me get this straight. You are accusing me of being anachronistic!? Is that right? Grossly anachronistic with my football/futebol & Declaration of Independence analogy!??? 🤨

      😄 Well, I think you might be right. But that doesn’t change the fact that our USSF and our other USSF have discriminated in our Youth Development programs toward the absolute best talent feeding our USMNT while also hiring and retaining the best possible coaching staffs!!! 😉

      P.S. I don’t mind at all when you disagree, challenge, and aid/teach me higher cognition, concept recognition, EVERYTHING that pushes me further to be smarter. Thank you Sir! 🙂

      Like

      • I learned to play (and despise) soccer on cement when attending urban schools in Australia, South Africa, and England. I was not very good but better than most. I was never particularly concerned about skin. I enjoyed rugby much more. On grass. Go figure.

        I knew soccer was an inherently crazy sport when everybody called it ‘football’, but in typical English fashion the term had nothing to do with football and everything to do with soccer. People can be obstinate. And some people actually liked the game. Heathens, all.

        So I have no love of the game and no favourites but I do enjoy watching the Canadian women’s team in international competition. My preferred team sport was not hockey like most Canadians (it all depends on how well one can skate.. from the age of 1…) but evolved to football, the one with the oblong ball and not dependent on skill regarding staying upright on the playing surface, the game where you must literally risk life and limb in exchange for carrying the ball. Seems a fair and fitting deal to me. Specifically, and to the great annoyance of my family generally after spending perfectly good money on my training and coaching to advancing up the ranks in tennis, American football. (My father was the quintessential jock, drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, played goalkeeper for his university soccer team, quarterbacked for their national champion football team, and toured North America playing basketball with what was going to be the Canadian Olympic team… rudely and intentionally, according to him, interrupted by WWII.)

        One might be forgiven to think Western Civilization will ridiculously reward anyone who can catch a ball, throw a ball, or kick a ball as some kind of ‘hero’ deserving or riches and fame but the lack of soccer admiration puts this one to bed. Yet millions of Canadian children pour on to the fields and pitches across the country every spring and summer playing organized soccer, and this is by far the most widely played sport in the country, yet it is singularly unable to produce world class players. I have no clue why.

        Liked by 1 person

    • @tildeb

      Any citation or source for this claim about the correct interpretation of the “All Men are created equal” line would have been understood as referring to only to English primogeniture law by people of the time?

      Liked by 1 person

      • From his own writings. I don’t mean to sound flippant or dismissive because it’s an important understanding and not just a quick reference easily accessible. So, because of this difficulty, I cannot quote a particular work that says this is what it means (once upon a time I had access to a great many books written by and about Jefferson) but rather indicate how this understanding is supported by Jefferson’s own words and works over time. It is not so straightforward as I know you’d like.

        Just like his use of the term ‘natural’, this too has quite a different meaning today than then but, for anyone who reads Jefferson we know that for him at that time it meant a kind of morality, in the sense of what ought to be was recognized as a common trait everyone shared. He talks about ‘natural’ versus ‘artificial’ aristocracy in this same light, where the artificial is based on legal privileges like inheritance of title and social position versus the natural based on personal independence and demonstrated common qualities of moral character. For example, his use of the term ‘created equal’ is a well known replacement in the original draft that once said , “created free and independent.” To be independent, then, needs something to make this possible and so, knowing that anyone dependent on the will of another is not equal, Jefferson thought owning property was the ticket to remove this dependence element and ought to be the great equalizer (having experienced the vast number of landless disenfranchized people in France who were entirely dependent on the landowners), and so he recommended that every Virginian male citizen at the time be given at least fifty acres of land.

        Jefferson recognized quite well that one’s situation – what we would call the ‘environment’ one is born into – has a very great deal to do with determining opportunity rather than dependence, and so this means of being independent by means of land ownership was integral to creating equality. (Lincoln wanted the same thing for freed slaves.)

        Remember, his contemporary teachers were enlightenment thinkers like Kant and Paine and Locke (Lockean sensationalism – something we know Jefferson discussed quite a bit with contemporaries – is about all men born equal in moral instinct but then subject to the environment that shapes and to a large extent determines their opportunities and produces predictable behaviours.)

        Demonstrating commonality with other citizens from all the grieving States was the central purpose of the Declaration, demonstrating to the English Crown this idea of a UNITED group of disparate States sharing common purpose against these privileges by the Crown to which all were subject, states that were themselves equal participants as part of this new whole, and equally supportive in the grievances of unfair treatment from legal privilege the Crown enacted on behalf of this group of artificial aristocracy, an artificial group businessmen awarded vast privileges by birth and position, granted opportunity, and this is what needed to be rejected wholesale in the birth of the new Republic.

        This theme was central to Jefferson’s contribution throughout his life, as revealed in his writing for and about the Virginia constitution and his university’s founding documents (both of which are listed on his gravestone at his request as his greatest achievements)… the same ‘created equal’ theme that rejected the same privilege elsewhere (not just the English Crown and its supporters), namely, to religious institutions once the English Crown was defeated (the university of Virginia was the only one, for example, that had no chapel or any faculty for religion and its study – a subject he thought that had no object and therefore no ‘natural’ redeeming moral value).

        So this inclusion of ‘all men created equal’ really was understood at the time by the signatories of the Declaration to be a rejection of privilege and opportunity awarded not just by the Crown of England (through what is called primogeniture law) but prevalent throughout the world. And so this notion of shared equality by all citizens (not subjects) really is the core value of the Constitution, but one that has evolved into its modern expression of individual liberty and – most importantly – the root or base unit of the importance of the individual citizen as the agent of consent for all justified public power, a core understanding of the individual’s shared importance that must at all costs be respected and defended by law. This notion of equality has evolved by ‘natural’ means (in Jeffersonian terminology) to be interpreted today in respect to common law as all people are created everywhere in the world (which underlies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… very much an American creation… with these inalienable rights and freedoms, which is why any other law that undermines or privileges some over others (regardless of why in addressing social issues) in this legal sense undermines this central value of the shared importance of the individual in law. The individual – every single citizen – is the common base unit, and respecting this in law in Jeffersonian terms is necessary for any law to be justified. (He was not optimistic this would remain the case for future generations, recognizing what he called turbulent egalitarianism – what we might recognize as ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ – because standing on this equality principle in its natural sense is very hard to do in real life, in which he saw as he aged everyone striving to be equal with those above them!)

        This is why in today’s political environment, recognizing legal rights awarded to some groups of individuals but not others (already privileged by environment, the argument goes) is as anti-American as one can possibly be. Many people simply reject this argument because they feel patriotic when they believe themselves to be championing some perceived unequal underdog. This is a trap. This is the sense in which ‘socialism’ has been inflated to be an attack on individual liberty in the name of some social egalitarianism, whereas in fact individual liberty properly understood must be a shared value within the context of a common purpose. (This is why the draft for military service, for example, is not an attack on individual liberty, whereas exemptions for privilege – like religious belief – are. But try explaining that vital principled difference to a conscientious objector and those who have decided on behalf of everyone that military service is Bad! They would have made Jefferson cringe and undermine the founding of the nation.)

        I’m sorry I do not have access to primary sources here at home and so I apologize for not being able to clearly copy and paste various writings. One quip still stays with me, and I seem to recall it being said by some woman from the much maligned American aristocracy: wealth is the grand leveling principle. I think that sentiment contains a great deal of insight into the American psyche.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Goodness Tildeb. I’ve read and reread your response here as well as the one you challenged me on above and I THINK I am beginning to understand your comprehensive dissection. 😉 I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and make my brain overheat!!! 🤯🔥

          Though I am sometimes/often aware of writing anachronistic in my uses of historical sources to support my positions. Sometimes I get it right, other times I’m off mark a little, then other times (hopefully not frequently) I’m completely out of the firing-range. LOL Nonetheless, you have definitely helped. Many thanks Sir. 🙂

          Like

      • The Founding Fathers along with the abolishing of primogeniture, declared titles illegal. This is a de-facto rejection of a system of hereditary honours as was present in the British Monarchy/Peerage. An area where you’ll find a wealth of related writings is the controversy on the Society of the Cincinnati (because it was hereditary.)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey, I had no idea you were into sports and had a semi-pro career. Now, being into it myself in my past life, I chose not to follow any sport at all, knowing what it entails. Although, my hat is off to you, for still keeping your interest up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, not just a semi-pro, but a very brief pro career as well. And thank you. I am hopelessly passionate about the game of football/futebol, beautiful, creative, highly skilled football/futebol games that is. All the other aspects surrounding the game, not so much. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Go Ahead, Start the Discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s