A Tough Straw to Chew

NBA bans Butler from chewing straws

By Brett Feinberg
|  Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 6:01 PM EDT
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The former Wizards star demonstrates the calming habit of the straw chomp.

The former Wizards star demonstrates the calming habit of the straw chomp.

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Tough Juice, aka Caron Butler, has a lot to chew on these days. Off the court, at least.

The NBA banned the former Washingon Wizards All-Star and current Dallas Mavericks player from chewing on straws during games. Wiz fans grew accustomed to seeing Butler chomping on those McDonald's straws every game for the past four-and-a-half years.

Butler, who goes through about a dozen straws during the course of a game, talked about the "fetish" with News4's Lindsay Czarniak last summer.

"I usually have the ball kids make sure that they have, like, at least 22, 23 straws right there laying there for me and I come in and I start gnawing, and during the course of the games I've got the straws behind the bench," he said. "It's just a habit. It's a fetish that I love and it keeps me calm."

He'd better find a new way to stay relaxed on the court.

The NBA league office called Butler on Tuesday and told him he can no longer chew the straws, ESPN reported.

"It's againts the rules," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.

The league did say Butler can get his quick fix while on the bench but not during game play.

The league is worried about safety.

"If he ain't choked by now, he ain't gonna choke," said Brendan Haywood, his teammate with the Wizards and Mavs.

Earlier this week, Butler's new teammates poked fun at his habit by chewing on straws before the game. That obviously got the league's attention, but he's been doing it for years.

Butler missed last night's game because of a reaction to medicine. The Mavericks' next game is Friday night.

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