Report: Cavs players taunted John Beilein by playing songs with word ‘thug’
John Beilein was unable to make it through a full season in his first year as an NBA head coach, and his inability to relate to his players appears to have been the biggest reason for that. While Beilein insisted he misspoke last month when he called his players “thugs,” that was ultimately the beginning of the end for him with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Athletic published an in-depth look at what went wrong with Beilein in his first NBA coaching gig, and it’s clear the infamous film session on Jan. 8 became a huge issue for Cavs players. During that session, Beilein called his players “thugs,” and he later apologized and said he meant to call them “slugs” in reference to their slow play. Several players didn’t accept the explanation or the apology, according to The Athletic.
Even after Beilein apologized, some Cavs players reportedly began taunting him by intentionally playing songs that included the word “thug” when Beilein was present. They apparently did this on numerous occasions.
Instead, multiple players began playing songs that included the word “thug” whenever Beilein was within earshot, sources said: Bone Thugz-n-Harmony’s “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and Tupac’s “Thugz Mansion” among them. As the team boarded the bus a few days after the incident, one player was intentionally playing Trick Daddy’s “I’m a Thug” with Beilein a few feet away. Other players blasted songs with the word “thug” loudly during workouts in the facility. Players did this to make light of a very tough situation, according to one team source.
One player told The Athletic that what bothered him the most was Beilein “not owning that he said it.”
Beilein was already having issues with players before the “thugs” incident, as the team was said to be unhappy with the way he was trying to create a college-style environment at the pro level. Even Shaq unloaded on Cavs players for being so sensitive about Beilein’s criticisms, but the damage was done at that point. Some coaches simply aren’t cut out for the NBA, and that may be the case with Beilein.