San Francisco 49ers drafted defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw with the 14th pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The team traded star lineman DeForrest Buckner to the Colts prior to selecting Kinlaw as his replacement. In what was a salary cap move at the time, it’s looking more and more like they may have made a mistake.
While Buckner has racked up 16.5 sacks to lead an Indianapolis Colts defense the last two seasons, Kinlaw has been hampered by injuries and questions about him being an “overdrafted bust” have been plentiful.
One person who’s been on Kinlaw’s back since he was drafted is Sports Illustrated 49ers beat writer Grant Cohn, who’s continually referred to the former South Carolina Gamecock as an injury-prone bust.
Things came to a head as the 49ers arrived for OTAs this week. In his YouTube livestream “Cohn Zohn,” he talked about Kinlaw mean-mugging him at the facility.
“I don’t understand why he’s so mad. Javon, what are you so upset about? Is it the fact that I said you have an 80-year-old knee?”
Things reportedly got heated inside the team’s facility with Kinlaw staring Cohn down, and reportedly knocking his cap off his head, while swearing at him.
Cohn responded by asking the NFL player, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Then he pressed the issue by goading Kinlaw further.
“Do you think you’re representing the 49ers well right now? Cohen repeatedly asked. “Do you think the 49ers are proud of what you’re saying right now?”
The two later had another verbal exchange via Zoom interview, where Kinlaw didn’t mince words, even suggesting that Cohn should keep his mouth shut and respect him because, according to Kinlaw, “My balls are bigger than yours.”
Kinlaw Isn’t The Only Niners Player Who Isn’t A Fan Of Cohn
Cohn, who’s known for his questionable takes, probably won’t be receiving any Christmas gifts from the team he covers daily. But that hasn’t changed how he talks about them in his daily reports or on his podcast.
Edge rusher Arik Armstead and tight end George Kittle aren’t fans of his at all and also let it be known.
Armstead tweeted his feelings about Cohn.
This is the type of low life we let into our building. He would rather antagonize and provoke players into hitting him so he can retire instead of doing his “job“ of journalism. pic.twitter.com/jL5ZGTq8yZ
— Arik Armstead (@arikarmstead) May 25, 2022
Star tight end George Kittle joined in the onslaught of Cohn, while defending his teammate.
Multiple other niners players have come to support Kinlaw including Deebo Samuel pic.twitter.com/kZBkGqJQ1T
— JPA Football (@jpafootball) May 25, 2022
Following all the hot takes and interesting back and forth, Cohn made it seem as if the two had quashed their beef in a meeting at the facility. But Kinlaw wasn’t for the capping (lying, exaggeration), and let it be known
Kinlaw Says He Shook Hands For Organization: Nothing More
Kinlaw shook hands with Cohn after the incident at the facility, but says he was just doing the PR people a solid.
“I shook hands for the organization. Nowhere was anything squashed, and you know that. Stop cappin, dog. I ain’t letting nub go. I do this for the REAL ONES. It’s bigger than me.”
While Kinlaw’s 41 tackles and 1.5 sacks over two seasons, are putrid, he has been injured. And to believe he’ll be anywhere near as productive as DeForrest Buckner is false hope. Buckner has DPOY abilities, while Kinlaw is just a solid pro player.
What really stood out was seeing two veterans come to the defense of a young player, while a reporter continues to create animosity and base his career on ripping the team he covers. It shows real leadership by the veterans and gives us insight as to why the 49ers are contenders every season.