Injured and embattled 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw engaged in some heated NSFW back-and-forth with Sports Illustrated reporter Grant Cohn during two separate exchanges Tuesday.
In videos uploaded to his YouTube channel, Cohn described how Kinlaw approached him from a distance during the team’s OTA practice. Kinlaw obviously watched the video and didn’t like what he saw. The 24-year-old joined Cohn for a five-minute video chat Tuesday evening that was also broadcast and uploaded to YouTube and things got intense, with Kinlaw telling Cohn to “shut the f–k up” before Cohn ended the conversation. If you want to call it that.
In the first video posted, after describing his interaction with Kinlaw, Cohn went on to antagonize the defensive tackle, whom many have labeled a bust. The No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Kinlaw’s career has been hampered by chronic knee issues, as he has appeared in just 18 games the past two seasons, including four in 2021.
Cohn said he was about 70 yards away from the training room when he saw Kinlaw, who then approached him and stood next to him silently.
“I say, ‘Why are you looking at me like that, Javon?'” Cohn said. “And he said, ‘What are you gonna do about it, you b—ch a—' … then he said one more word that I can’t say. And then I turned to face him and I said, ‘Oh, it’s like that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah it’s like that.’ Then he knocked the hat off my head.”
A few minutes later, Cohn said he crossed by the defensive linemen practicing and Kinlaw started freestyle a faux rap song.
“‘Boy, you a b—ch, sucka a— b—ch,”’ Cohn said of the lyrics. “I thought that was pretty funny. Javon Kinlaw called me a ‘sucka a— b—ch’ today. You can’t say that. To me, it was one of the better days of my life. Definitely one of the better days of my career. I’m honored that Javon Kinlaw thinks I’m a sucka a— b—ch. I’ve worked so hard in my life to attain this status. Thank you, Javon.”
Then Cohn really dug in on his criticism.
“Javon – what are you so upset about?,” Cohn said. “Is it the fact that I said you have an 80-year-old knee? Is it the fact that I said that you’re a terrible pass-rusher and you’re just a two-down player? Is it the fact that I said the 49ers shouldn’t have drafted you and they should have taken Tristan Wirfs instead? Is it the fact that I said you’re unprofessional and immature? It escapes me, which of the hundred of negative things I’ve said about Javon Kinlaw the last couple of years moved him to approach me in such a way."
Clearly, Kinlaw took issue with Cohn’s comments, but never specifically said what caused him to approach Cohn on the field in the first place.
“Stop talking about people like people don’t got families,” Kinlaw said. “Stop doing that s–t, bruh. What you get out of doing this? What satisfaction do you get out of this, man? … You’re analyzing people like they’re not human, fam.”
Cohn has been covering the 49ers since 2011 and this isn’t the first time he has been in hot water with a player. Back in 2012, Anthony Davis took issue with Cohn writing that the hulking offensive tackle, “threw his hands up in the air and squealed like a child,” while describing Davis’ reaction to a Randy Moss touchdown catch in practice. At the time, Davis called out Cohn and tried to galvanize support behind the #StopCohn hashtag on Twitter to get him blocked from covering the team.
Like Davis, Kinlaw isn't a fan of Cohn's work.
“I understand that’s your job – but, bruh – you gotta start going about this thing in a different way,” Kinlaw said. “You talk s–t about everybody on this team, bruh. Nobody f–ks with that. Nobody f–ks with you, bruh. You don’t even understand that. Nobody f–ks with you, brother. You need to go find a new job.”
Cohn’s father, Lowell, also covered the team for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for decades and often rubbed fans the wrong with contrarian and bold takes. Grant has become immensely popular with a sect of the 49ers fan base for his YouTube channel, reporting style and spirited criticism of players and front office staff. His favorite targets include tackle Mike McGlinchey, coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. And Kinlaw.
“The only reason I’m getting on here and stooping to your level, this low, is because I feel like it’s gotta be done,” Kinlaw said. “Somebody gotta do it and it’s gonna be me. Somebody gotta press you, fam. You like to come on here and bully people on the internet. But when I press up on you in f–king person, you f–king shaking like a coward and voice lighter than my f–king baby. … Your balls shriveled up, little d–k n—a.”
Kinlaw also issued some more barbs like, “I’m a man just like you. My nuts are bigger than yours brother. Put some respect on my name. My balls is bigger than yours.”
By the end of the video, as Kinlaw spouted food chunks and got angrier, things got really ugly and he kept repeating, “Stop playing with me.”
“I got kids to raise,” Kinlaw said. “Stop playing with my name on the f–king internet, bruh. … If I have a s–ty season this year, I promise you, you can rail me all you want. Until then, bruh, leave my name alone. I’m tired of that s–t.”
If Cohn wants attention, he certainly got it. But the whole interaction doesn’t shine a great light on Kinlaw and his ability to handle criticism from a reporter like Cohn, who likes to stir up the pot.