John Beilein to remain as Cavaliers coach after calling players 'thugs'

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein yells instructions to players in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Tuesday Jan. 7 2020 in Cleveland

John Beilein to remain as Cavaliers coach after calling players 'thugs'

Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Beilein said Wednesday night it was a slip of the tongue when he referred to his players as "thugs" earlier that day.

"The Cavaliers players left the room initially stunned and were increasingly disturbed as they dispersed out of the meeting, league sources said", he wrote.

Beilein told ESPN he had meant to say "slugs" in reference to the team's effort level. Beilein said he had meant to say the team was "no longer playing like a bunch of slugs", intending to compliment his squad for playing faster in recent games.

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Beilein had corrected his statement to say he meant to say "slugs" instead of "thugs", but the damage was done and the coach set out to win back a locker room that is reportedly exhausted of his long film sessions and college-like instruction by talking with players individually to apologize.

About a month ago, a report in The Athletic cited unidentified players saying that Beilein was being tuned out. We weren't playing hard before, and now we were playing harder.

But veterans Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love said the players are ready to move on.

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"It wasn't one of those things that like, 'How dare you?'" Nance said.

"He made a mistake".

"Thug" is a term with negative racial connotations, so Beilein's use of the term did not go over well with the players, who reportedly were silent after the words came out. I didn't think there was any malice or any intent behind it to upset us or anger us.

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