San Francisco-based artist Mark Ulriksen has created In Creative Battle for the latest cover of The New Yorker. His image depicts NFL Stars Colin Kaepernick and Michael Benner linking arms with a kneeling Martin Luther King Jr, after asking himself what the civil rights leader might have to say about protest and professional sports.
The title draws reference to Martin Luther King Jr’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in which he spoke of a “creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice.”
“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?” the artist explained speaking to The New Yorker. “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.”