Safety Concerns End Caron Butler's In-Game Straw Chewing Habit
But now, as first reported by Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com, the NBA has ordered Butler to stop chewing straws on the court.
Fisher presents the news with incredulity, but there's a fairly simple explanation: it's a safety issue. That's how NBA spokesman Tim Frank explained it to FanHouse Thursday morning. The ban covers game play; Butler is free to chew to his heart's content on the bench.
Maybe it seems a little too Big Brother for some (like Fisher, and Butler no doubt), but telling players what sharp foreign objects they cannot chew on during games is certainly within the league's rights. A 15-minute injury time-out while some Mavericks trainer administers mouth-to-mouth to Butler is something that should be avoided, and "chewing on plastic straws during a game" hardly seems like some inalienable right. Critics will make this out as an overreach by commissioner David Stern; critics of Stern, of course, would cry foul if the Knicks served brisket instead of pulled pork at a media buffet. He can't win. But again, all told, this seems like a sensible decree. If it stops one kid from wedging a straw between his gums, it will have been worth it.