Seahawks’ DE Michael Bennett depicted alongside Kaepernick, MLK on newest cover of The New Yorker
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett graces the cover of The New Yorker this month, depicted in artwork by Mark Ulriksen kneeling alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Colin Kaepernick.
The three men are shown kneeling in a tribute to nation-wide protests by professional athletes against racial inequality. The protests, which have been held during the National Anthem pregame, have drawn criticism from some fans and provoked the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for players to be fired for kneeling in a series of Tweets.
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) January 8, 2018
Bennett participated in the protest during the majority of Seattle’s games this year. He’s also called for the league to “open up its doors” to Kaepernick, who started the protests at the beginning of the 2016 season (Kaepernick entered free agency at the close of the 2016 season and has yet to be signed to any team).
The cover artist is a San Francisco native and explained his work in the New Yorker:
“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. 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.”
Bennett began protesting during the Seahawks’ Aug. 13 preseason game against the Chargers. He referenced the protests in Charlottesville, Va. as one of many reasons behind his decision.
“With everything that’s been going on the last couple of months and especially after the last couple of days, seeing everything in Virginia, seeing what’s going on out there earlier today in Seattle, I just wanted to be able to use my platform to be able to continue to speak over injustice,” he told reporters at the time.
“First of all, I want people to understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American, but I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots. I don’t love oppression. I don’t love gender slander. I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve, and I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that, you know, and keep journeying out and keep finding out how unselfish can we be as a society.”