Prayers and players

King Day marked by magazine cover

The cover of the current issue of the New Yorker magazine carries a painting of Martin Luther King flanked by University of Nevada, Reno graduate Colin Kaepernick and Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett, recently detained by Las Vegas police. All three are kneeling, with the athletes arms’ linked with those of the praying King.

The painting, titled “In Creative Battle” after a phrase from King’s Nobel lecture in 1964, was done by San Francisco artist and 49rs fan Mark Ulriksen, who told the magazine, “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, 20 steps back—or 10 yards back, as the metaphor may be.”

On Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, Bennett reported being accosted by two police officers following a prizefight, and that they used excessive force on him and threatened him. Police have said that three persons were detained, all minorities, and claimed that the body camera of the officer who detained Bennett was not functioning but that other cameras supported their denials of his charges. Bennett’s attorney says the peripheral videos do not support the police account, which is that Bennett was running at a time when they told the departing crowd to hit the ground because of a reported shooting. Bennett said he heard someone tell the crowd to run.