The New Yorker hit newsstands this week with a powerful illustration by Mark Ulriksen of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett kneeling alongside former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Martin Luther King Jr.
Bennett, the two-time Pro Bowler and fan favorite, found an activist voice of late amid a football season full of controversial protests. He was one of the many professional players to take a knee during pregame National Anthems in order to draw attention to disproportionate police violence against African Americans, a gesture started by former 49er quarterback Kaepernick—one that many think cost the free agent Kaepernick his job.
Late last August, Bennett found himself the victim of what he and others consider racially motivated excessive police force after an active shooter scare in Las Vegas, during which Bennett had a gun drawn on him by an officer and was briefly detained.
Bennett, like Kaepernick and protesting players at large, received much criticism for what many view as disrespectful to the country and its service members, despite the fact that these protests have nothing to do with the National Anthem itself nor United States military. In September, KING 5 reported that Bennett jumped into an impromptu conversation with a group of counter-protesting veterans and ultimately engaged in actual civil discourse around this divisive topic.