I think it's absurd,” Baldwin said, via the News Tribune. “I understand Roger Goodell and his safety council, or whoever they are, they're trying to do this with good intentions. … Maybe. But, if you look at it, the only people who say the N-word on the football field are African-Americans. Whether whoever wants to agree with it or not, we have turned it kind of into a term of endearment.
“So, for the rule to specifically to hone in on one word, it's kind of odd to me when there's so many other things that are more offensive that have been said on the football field. That word, like you've heard many guys say, they've never heard it towards them in a disrespectful way (on the field). It's more of a term of endearment. Never heard it from the opposite race, so the only people they are really going at are African-Americans.”
Sherman went so far as to say “It's almost racist, to me. It's weird they're targeting one specific word. Why wouldn't all curse words be banned then?”
"I'm not sure if the (NFL) is directly referring to white people using the N-word," Matthews said. "I think it's more so just as players using it as a term of endearment or how it's used in pop culture and society these days. And I think they're just trying to clean it up in that regard.
"It's hard for me to comment on that, a guy who obviously doesn't use the word but at the same time, I think the players using it are not understanding the magnitude of it and using it as a term of endearment. And I think that's where the NFL would like it to change."
One thing (and we wrote about this Monday): A source told TheMMQB.com's Peter King that the biggest problem with such a rule is what happens if officials flag the wrong player -- and he's white -- for using the word? That player would then carry that with him the rest of his career.
League owners will vote on rules changes later this month.