Report: John Beilein called Cavs’ players ‘bunch of thugs’, later apologizes

© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after the Cleveland Cavaliers dealt with Kevin Love’s outburst towards general manager Koby Altman in front of the team, the Cavaliers dealt with a new issue on Wednesday involving head coach John Beilein.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Beilein was speaking during a film session with the team on Wednesday when he told the players that they were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.”

According to the report, the room fell silent as players before players eventually all left the room and became increasingly disturbed by Beilein’s stunning and offensive comment towards them.

Altman was reportedly informed shortly after about the comments and reached out to his coach for clarification. Beilein then reportedly started contacting the players and apologizing, but insisting that he meant to say the word ‘slugs’ instead of ‘thugs’. He later explained his side of the incident to ESPN.

“I didn’t realize that I had said the word “thugs,” but my staff told me later I did and so I must have said it,” Beilein said, via ESPN. “I meant to say slugs, as in slow moving. We weren’t playing hard before, and now we were playing harder. I meant it as a compliment. That’s what I was trying to say. I’ve already talked to eight of my players tonight, and they are telling me that they understand.”

Beilein, who signed a five-year contract with the Cavaliers after coaching at Michigan, has reportedly struggled to connect with his players and his first season has gone poorly with slow adjustments.

The Cavaliers (10-27) are set to face the Detroit Pistons on Thursday in what is shaping up to be a lost season.