Yesterday afternoon, we learned that 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner was fined $21,000 for his hit on St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Givens. In speaking with the media, Whitner mentioned that Givens actually told him afterward that he thought it was a clean hit.
While that does sound good and all, obviously the NFL is not going to make a change based on the recipient of the hit saying it was alright. It is good for Whitner that other players won't think he's a cheap-shot artist, but for the purposes of this fine, I suspect it will not matter much.
As Whitner works his way through the appeal process, he is not looking to show any remorse for a hit that he and most of us view as legit. For $28, you can get yourself a #LegalHitner t-shirt in red, white or black (with 31 on the back). I'd love to see a nice chunk of 49ers fans rocking this on Sunday when the 49ers welcome the Houston Texans to Candlestick Park.
I would like to think the t-shirts won't impact the appeal process, and that it will be based strictly on the hit. But I can't imagine the NFL will be particularly pleased by this. That being said, Whitner is right to stand up for himself.
I agree with the NFL's desire to try and make the game safer. However, what about some kind of limited instant replay process for personal fouls? Maybe one challenge per half, or even just one per game that is independent of the regular allotment of challenges? Or it could be part of the normal allotment. Whatever the case, doesn't it seem like there should be some sort of option for review? With the way the game is being changed, it seems crazy to not provide some kind of review support.