Martin Luther King, Jr. takes a knee on latest New Yorker cover

The latest cover of The New Yorker depicts civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. taking a knee alongside NFL players Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick.

The cover art, titled “In Creative Battle,” is for the magazine’s Jan. 15 issue, which is this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday marking King’s birthday.

Artist Mark Ulriksen said the title was inspired by King’s acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, in which he spoke of being “engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice.”

Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was one of the first NFL players to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and racial inequality, and has since become a face of the movement.

Bennett, a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, has also been a prominent figure in the protest movement, and accused Las Vegas police of racially profiling him over the summer.


President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE was highly critical of Kaepernick and the protests, and repeatedly urged the NFL to punish players who participated.

Ulriksen, who is based in San Francisco, said that he is “glad” for the NFL protests.

“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?” he said.

“I’m glad that Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are making it political," he continued. "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.”