This week's The New Yorker cover features an illustration of MLK kneeling next to Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick

By Scooby Axson
January 08, 2018

This week's cover of the The New Yorker magazine features an illustration of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

In artist Mark Ulriksen's explanation of his illustration titled "In Creative Battle," he said he asked himself, "What would King be doing if he were around today?”

“This is 49er country, and my mom and I have been going back and forth—she’s upset that players have brought politics into sports, but I say, How would you feel if you had to show up at work every day and salute a country that treats black people like second-class citizens? I’m glad that Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are making it political," Ulriksen said. "I’m sure that if King were around today, he’d be disappointed at the slow pace of progress: two steps forward, twenty steps back. Or ten yards back, as the metaphor may be.”

Ulriksen is based out of San Francisco, where Kaepernick spent the first six seasons of his NFL career playing for the 49ers. Kaepernick became a lightning rod around the country after he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

Other players in the NFL and other sports followed suit, which culminated with a majority of teams kneeling or not coming out of the locker room during Week 3 after President Trump called for players to be fired for a perceived disrespect of the flag.

Kapernick did not play this season and filed a grievance for collusion against NFL owners, claiming they schemed to keep him off the football field because of his protests.

Bennett has also been outspoken about race relations in this country and said he was racially profiled by law enforcement in August during a trip to Las Vegas. Bennett was detained at gunpoint by police and sat in a patrol car before authorities verified his identity after reports of an active shooter sent people on the strip and casinos running for cover.

Las Vegas police deny that Bennett was profiled.

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