Up Next


Cleveland Cavs head coach John Beilein meant slugs, of course

Shake it off, coach, those kinds of slips happen all the time

I watched in feigned shock when news hit that Cleveland Cavs head coach John Beilein made a gaffe in which he referred to his players as thugs. He meant slugs, of course. Don’t you hate it when you so meant slugs?

Shake it off, coach, those kinds of slips happen all the time. We get you, coach. Not in a cookout invitation way, but in a way where we feel pretty confident you’d just yell, “Cut the malarkey!” instead of calling the cops on us.

You needn’t explain yourself, sir. You’ve coached some of the blackest players in America. The whitest player on your team, Kevin Love, still has the name of a baby-oiled ’90s rhythm and blues singer. To us, the clarification was all white there in the open when you told reporters, “It was something I have to learn from, just enunciate better, just be clearer with what my words are. They all know it, they understand it. But it’s something that’s unfortunate that we’ll get past.”

And get past it we shall, coach. I can feel that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make this thing sit right with us. But before you show up in the locker room next week on MLK Day with Slug Life tatted on your chest, coach, the Black Delegation is pretty much all in pregame mode for Black History Month right now. There’s a loooot going on over here between us scrambling to find Meghan Markle the best silk press-n-curl in Canada and dealing with the round of Oscar snubs announced Monday morning.

We did not foresee having to late add your little kerfuffle to the bulletin for this month’s meeting, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t take the time to come up with some recommendations for how you can settle up your account with us.

We’re gonna need you to get Kap a workout with the NBA. When NFL attorneys texted Kaepernick “Sorry, we’re going in a different direction,” we’re thinking that direction was toward the hardwood. Are we saying he’d be the beeest quarterback in the NBA? No. But put his stats up next to any other quarterback who’s come through Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and you tell me who wouldn’t have Kap on their starting five.

This one is just nonnegotiable, coach: You’re gonna have to both present and perform at the NAACP Image Awards. I know what you’re gonna say, I know. This seems like pandering. But no, no, no, coach, this is pandering, and as a race, we are going to take great satisfaction in watching you do it in what we hope turns out to be one of Megan Thee Stallion’s bedazzled performance thongs, or anything that is at least inspired enough to get all charges dropped against DaBaby.

This is about you making amends. That sincerity will ring through to a crowd full of names you’d awkwardly pronounce as you announce the nominees in the category for best leading actor in a Tyler Perry-directed drama series written by and starring Tyler Perry. We’re kinda letting you off easy, here. You don’t even have to hit the stage alone. How about you make it a chance to put your city on your shoulders and feature a reunion performance or something?

We can picture you now grabbing the mic mid-chorus to “Welcome to the stage East Cleveland’s own Bone Slugs-N-Harmony!!!”

Saida Grundy is an Assistant Professor of Sociology & African American Studies at Boston University and author of the forthcoming Manhood Within the Margins: Promise, Peril and Paradox at the Historically Black College for Men.