CLEVELAND, OH — Cavaliers head coach John Beilein apologized to his players on Wednesday night after he referred to them as "thugs" during a film session according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
"Hush fell over the room" Wojnarowski wrote.
Beilein said the players were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs" instead of “slugs,” which was a critical error by the first-year head coach.
Beilein didn’t realize he used the term initially according to the report. His assistant coaches brought it to his attention after the film session.
Cavaliers players reportedly left the room "stunned and were increasingly disturbed."
He reached out to his players individually and clarified his comments with Wojnarowski.
"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 told 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."
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman is reportedly looking into the situation. Beilein is expected to address the media on Thursday before the Cavaliers' matchup with the Pistons in Detroit.