Shaq defends John Beilein over 'thugs' error
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein came under fire this week for a term he used during a film session with his players, and you can count Shaquille O’Neal among those who do not understand what all the fuss is about.

Shaq and the rest of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew discussed the Beilein situation on Thursday night, and the general consensus seemed to be that it has been blown out of proportion. Shaq said he believes Beilein when the coach claimed he meant to call his players “slugs” and not “thugs,” but the Hall of Famer said they shouldn’t have been offended either way.

“If you have to be apologized to for your coach calling you a thug, you ain’t gonna never win,” Shaq said. “You’re soft, period. … Stop being so sensitive.”

Kenny Smith also defended Beilein, and Charles Barkley pointed to the fact that the Cavs haven’t won anything without LeBron James and should not be complaining about a coach who wants to make them better.

“To be complaining about a coach who’s coming in and trying to make y’all work on fundamentals when y’all stink, make y’all watch film, make y’all practice hard — this is a joke,” Barkley said.

Shaq added that he believes Beilein’s private comments to his players leaking proves they want to get the coach fired.

Beilein reportedly issued an “emotional apology” to his players on Thursday, and the Cavs are sticking with him for now. To Shaq’s point, players were already unhappy with the way the first-year head coach was running the team, so that may have something to do with all the drama from this week.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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