Javon Kinlaw is no stranger to the media. When he speaks publicly, he’s always honest and raw and tells it how it is. Earlier this offseason, Kinlaw joined Brad Graham to talk for over an hour†
The two talked about everything 49ers related, but one topic stood out: Dehumanizing players. Kinlaw stressed that players are humans too, have a breaking point, and shouldn’t be treated like animals.
During Tuesday’s practice, Kinlaw had a run-in with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn, who has been known to poke the bear a time or 20 throughout the season. Some players, such as George Kittle and Jimmie Ward, will pushback on Grant if they feel he’s out of line but also answer him fairly.
Other players, such as Arik Armstead, won’t give Cohn the time of day and have no business taking to Twitter to share their displeasure. We can add Cohn to that list.
According to Cohn, Kinlaw approached him Tuesday and, after some choice words, knocked the hat off Grant’s head. After more words were exchanged later on during practice, Kinlaw, for whatever reason, agreed to jump on Grant’s YouTube channel.
From there, things went south:
Let’s be clear: There are no victims in this situation. When the stream began, Grant shared how excited he was about what Kinlaw did and how much more famous it’d make him. Bringing Kinlaw on was never in good faith, and the antagonizing didn’t stop. The master troll provoked a guy that’s already on record for not being a fan of how players are dehumanized in the media.
Kinlaw couldn’t have handled this any worse. He came off as unprofessional, immature, and unaware of what the consequences are for an NFL player. Again, when you see people talking about this, those in the media shouldn’t have the right to blindly say whatever they want to about a player without any repercussions. Also, since nobody else saw the interaction, who knows which parts are true.
That can be true while acknowledging what Kinlaw said came off as a threat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets in trouble with the team. This is unfortunate because you knew the message Kinlaw wanted to say, but he let his emotions get the best of him, got too wound up, and you saw how that played out.
Kinlaw wanted to get across that he’s been trying his best after dealing with unfortunate circumstances, that the criticisms about him were too far, and he wanted to stand up for himself. Of course, those weren’t the words that came out of his mouth.
Expecting 20-some old athletes to be mild-mannered after hearing and dealing with non-stop bickering isn’t realistic. But, man, letting a writer get to you like that after Trey Lance told the media the same day that it’s not his job to make people on social media happy won’t come off well.
Then again, it shows you that not everyone deals with what’s thrown at them the same. We’ll see if anything happens with Kinlaw, if the media has less access to the players, or if it all blows over.