Cleveland Cavaliers Players Trolled Coach John Beilein Over 'Thugs' Comments by Playing Songs Containing the Word

Cleveland Cavaliers players reportedly trolled their former head coach John Beilein after he allegedly called them "thugs" during a film session last month.

The 67-year-old's nine-month spell as Cavaliers head coach came to an end on Wednesday, when the franchise confirmed he had resigned and would be reassigned to a different role in the organization.

It appears, however, that Beilein had been on borrowed time for over a month, since he told his players they were no longer playing "like a bunch of thugs" during a film session on January 8.

Beilein subsequently apologized, suggesting he had intended to say "slugs", a reference to his team's perceived lack of effort.

"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," he 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."

According to a report from The Athletic, Cavaliers players did not buy his apology and proceeded to subtly troll their head coach by an unusual means.

A host of Cleveland players reportedly began playing songs that included the word "thug" whenever they were close to Beilein.

The ad-hoc soundtrack included Tupac's "Thugz Mansion," Bone Thugz-n-Harmony's "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" and Trick Daddy's "I'm a Thug."

To ensure their coach got the message, songs containing the word "thug" were also played loudly during workouts.

While the report from The Athletic adds the players were trying to make light of a difficult situation, it seems clear Beilein's comments went down like a lead balloon.

Beilein spent 40 years as a college head coach and spent 13 seasons at the University of Michigan before signing a five-year deal with the Cavaliers.

While he guided the Wolverines to a national runner-up finish in the 2017-18 season, and another 30-7 finish in the 2018-19 campaign, the jump to the NBA looked a step too far for the New York state native.

The Cavs arrived into the All-Star break rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 14-40 record—the second-worst in the entire NBA after the Golden State Warriors.

The 67-year-old described his decision to resign as very difficult and suggested he had decided to step down due to concerns related to his health.

"I have given my all to this organization, but after much reflection, I have decided that it is best that I step back and resign from my position as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and assist the organization in a different capacity," he said in a statement.

"This was a very difficult decision for me, but I want to be clear—this was my decision to step down and I truly appreciate the understanding and support of the front office during this time.

"I find losing very challenging and this year has taken a much bigger toll on me than I expected. I grew concerned for the consequences this toll could potentially take on my own health and my family's well-being down the road. I was not certain I could be at my best for the remainder of the season and in the future."

Collin Sexton, John Beilein, Cleveland Cavaliers
Collin Sexton #2 listens to head coach John Beilein of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 2 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Hornets defeated the Cavaliers 109-106. Jason Miller/Getty