April 27, 2021
Letters to the Editor USA TODAY
RE: April 13, 2021 Mike Thompson Editorial Cartoon, “The Game of Life or Death” To the Editor of USA TODAY,
On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), representing over 241,000 law enforcement officers across the country, I am writing to you to express our profound disgust with the Mike Thompson editorial cartoon published in the USA TODAY Network newspapers on April 13, 2021, entitled “The Game of Life or Death”.
The cartoon plays off the board game LIFE and depicts two paths of life: one with a White motorist and one with a Black motorist. It shows the White motorist being pulled over by police and then politely sent on their “merry” way, while the Black motorist is pulled from their car and murdered by police. By publishing this cartoon, the USA TODAY Network is consciously perpetuating the falsehood that all police officers are racist and aiming to use deadly force against African Americans. At a time when our nation’s communities, of all colors, need peace, safety and mutual understanding, this cartoon recklessly incites anger at, and misunderstanding of, the brave men and women who serve as law enforcement officers.
Not so long ago in our nation, newspaper editors took justifiable pride in using their public platform to stick up for the unpopular person in the face of the mob. Not so USA TODAY. It’s no doubt easier, and better for the bottom line, to pander to the lowest common denominator and ride the bandwagon of demonization of police, as opposed to taking a hard look at the underlying facts of each officer-citizen encounter.
Today, a Black man or woman can be elected president or vice-president of the United States, and a cop often finds himself refused a cup of coffee. How refreshing it would be for a national newspaper to editorialize in support of the men and women who literally risk their lives for strangers. But even that relatively modest modicum of moral courage and intellectual honesty shows itself to be missing from your paper.
Florida Police Benevolent
JOHN A. FLYNN
Vice President Police Benevolent Association of New York City
Recording Secretary Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas
Sergeant-at-Arms New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association
CRAIG D. LALLY
Executive Secretary Los Angeles Police Protective League
Vice President, Associate Members
Detroit Police Lieutenants & Sergeants Association
Wisconsin Professional Police
WILLIAM J. JOHNSON, CAE
Executive Director and General Counsel