A wild ride of a feud between San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and sportswriter Grant Cohn came to a head on Tuesday, May 24, during the Sports Illustrated writer’s YouTube livestream.
On Wednesday, May 25, after the video went viral on social media, Kinlaw’s teammates chimed in and reacted to the entire situation.
‘Somebody’s Gotta Press You, And It’s Gotta Be Me’
According to Cohn, a confrontation occurred between the two men at the 49ers OTAs in Santa Clara earlier in the day in which Kinlaw allegedly knocked the hat off of the Sports Illustrated blogger’s head after calling him a couple profanity-laced names, Cohn said on his show.
Associated Press writer Josh Dubow confirmed Cohn’s story.
As Cohn recounted the incident while speaking with the third-year defensive tackle, Kinlaw stood his ground and called the blogger out.
“Somebody’s gotta press you, and it’s gotta be me,” Kinlaw said. “You like to come on here and try to bully people on the internet, but when I come up on you and try to press you in (expletive) person, you (expletive) shaking like a coward, voice lighter than my (expletive) baby.”
Cohn tweeted about a portion of the exchange where Kinlaw told him to “stop playing with me,” and “my whole family knows what you look like,” and claimed that it sounded like “a threat.”
Cohn hasn’t been shy about expressing his criticism of the 49ers for taking Kinlaw in the 2020 NFL draft, including bashing him after he had season-ending knee surgery in October 2021.
“Kinlaw had another knee surgery earlier this year, but it was unsuccessful. He reinjured his knee before training camp, then soldiered his way through the past three months, Cohn wrote. “He rarely practiced fully with the team, as he physically couldn’t. In retrospect, it’s commendable he gutted it out this long. Good for him.
“From the 49ers’ perspective, this is terrible news. Kinlaw was their first-round pick last year — he was supposed to replace DeForest Buckner. And so far, Kinlaw has just 1.5 sacks in his career. Unless this knee surgery fixes his knee completely, he’ll go down as a medical bust.”
Deebo, Kittle & Armstead Back up Kinlaw
The 24-year-old’s Niners teammates were quick to back up Kinlaw via social media following the heated exchange.
Tight end George Kittle posted the quote of Cohn’s where he spoke about Kinlaw “crossing a line” at OTAs on his Instagram story before commenting himself.
“It’s crazy to me that someone who is allowed into our building has the mindset/goal to antagonize and iratate players with their endgame of being this,” Kittle said. “I thought players and reporters were supposed to work together.
“Being in this building, let alone this league, is an opportunity, it’s not a right. People get really comfortable typing behind a screen!
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but continuing to go after a player habitually seems like someone who’s goal isn’t to report or write a story.”
Defensive end Arik Armstead also came to Kinlaw’s defense on Twitter.
“This is the type of low life we let into our building,” Armstead tweeted. “He would rather antagonize and provoke players into hitting him so he can retire inside of doing his ‘job’ of journalism.”
And finally, wide receiver Deebo Samuel also echoed Armstead’s words in his own Instagram story, saying he blocked Cohn on social media.