ESPN's Linda Cohn Nearly Saves Brutally Awkward Interview with Ken Griffey Jr.

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 5, 2014

Ken Griffey Jr. once owned the sweetest swing in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, his interview with ESPN's Linda Cohn was the equivalent of an ugly whiff. 

This video uploaded to YouTube, spotted by Business Insider's Cork Gaines, features the MLB legend as he embarks on one of many interviews for card company Upper Deck. 


UPDATE: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. ET

Ken Griffey Jr. (h/t For the Win) went to Instagram to formally apologize to Cohn, citing illness for his odd behavior. 

I want to apologize to Linda for the way things went today. I was in the middle of a cough attack and felt a little ill and didn't want to walk off the set. Linda has always been professional to me and my family .  I'm sorry, Junior @espn @sportcenter @lindacohn

--End of Update--


UPDATE: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 7 p.m. ET

Griffey reached out to Cohn to apologize for what some may have considered an aloof appearance. Here is what the ESPN anchor had to say:

Just got off phone w Ken Griffey Jr. He apologized sincerely for how he came across in @SportsCenter int. I accepted his apology.

— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 5, 2014

--End of update--


In fact, Upper Deck quite proudly promoted Griffey as he took on a number of interviews:

The great Ken Griffey Jr. is doing a variety of media with Upper Deck today. Simply the best! #UpperDeck25

— Upper Deck (@UpperDeckSports) March 5, 2014

Griffey was not as enthused. 

The interview begins with a beaming Cohn who welcomes a somber and stoic Griffey who seems to roll his eyes to Cohn's question as to how he is doing before giving a, "Hey, how are you?"

The video seems to be just highlights of the interview, so there may have been more inspired answers from the man who played 22 seasons in the majors and is no stranger to interviews. 

Things really get awkward when Cohn gets to some Twitter questions, tweets that invoke one word answers like, "McCutchen" and "smile."

It's that last answer that seems to finally evoke some emotion. Perhaps, and we can only speculate, Griffey finally realizes that the interview has been on a downward spiral from the start. Well, it's far too late to pull up. 

Cohn would later sound off on Twitter.

In a response to a perplexed viewer, Cohn responds with a short but powerful, "What a waste," giving some credence to the belief that the awkward loomed beyond this video of snippets:

What a waste. @realBIGjame

— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 5, 2014

The ESPN anchor then added:

For a guy who wants to be known for his smile he has a strange way of showing it. #kengriffeyjr @J2theMo13

— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 5, 2014

If you were uncomfortable with the interview, you are not alone. Twitter responded as you would expect, with fans and media sounding off on the peculiar exchange. 

For the moment, we are left to merely wonder why Griffey was so glum on national television. Perhaps it was the benign frustration of doing one interview after another—hit with the same questions over and over again. 

If that were the case, there is hardly an excuse for the act. However, there is always the possibility that a far more troubling personal matter may have brought a pall on what really should have been a whimsical take on Griffey's thoughts on baseball and baseball cards. 

With that said, we will withhold criticism and just reiterate that this was indeed one of the more painful interviews to air in quite some time. 

Although, praise has to go to Cohn, who maintained her own smile and gave the interview its full complement of energy. 


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