After reportedly referring to his players as "thugs" in a film session on Wednesday, John Beilein's future with the Cleveland Cavaliers appeared to be in question.
But according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, following an emotional meeting with the team at shootaround, Beilein will remain the head coach of the Cavs for their matchup with the Detroit Pistons on Thursday and beyond.
The Cavs' decision to keep Beilein comes after hours of speculation regarding his future with the franchise. According to Wojnarowski, the 66-year-old head coach wasn't even aware of what he had said until informed by assistant coaches. He then proceeded to call players to apologize and explain that he had meant to say they had been playing like "slugs."
Considering the racial connotation associated with "thug" and that he's in coaching in a league and locker room largely comprised of African American players, Beilein's blunder was so serious that Cleveland general manager Koby Altman reportedly opted to cut a scouting trip short in order to fly to Detroit to be with the team. According to Wojnarowski, Altman spoke with Cavs players individually in order to gauge their view on the matter and how accepting they were of the head coach's apology.
Ultimately, the Cavs opted to keep Beilein, who is currently in his first season of coaching in the NBA after 40-plus years of experience at the college level. Even before Wednesday's incident, the former Michigan head coach has faced no shortages of challenges in adapting to the NBA, with Cleveland currently laying claim to the fourth-worst record in the league at 10-27.