The NFL didn’t disagree, passing on the opportunity to fine Whitner. Whitner was back at the complaint department after getting penalized for hitting Rams wide receiver Chris Givens above the neck when Givens was a defenseless receiver, but the NFL saw things differently this time. Whitner said Tuesday that he was fined $21,000 by the league, a penalty that he’s appealing.
Whitner said that Givens said he thought it was a legal hit and the safety argues that the fine was out of proportion to what happened on the field. Whitner said he would have understood the amount if he knocked Givens out, but said that this was a different case because Givens came down into Whitner’s strike zone to change the result.
“I was going for the midsection, where the ball is, with my shoulder,” Whitner said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “You can actually see me turn and lay off the hit. If I actually would have ran through the guy, then I think I would deserve what I got. But I’ll appeal it and see what they say.”
Based on their response to the Bradshaw hit, it stands to reason that there wouldn’t have been a fine if the league thought Whitner wasn’t culpable for the hit because of the way Givens came down while trying to make the catch. His appeal probably doesn’t have the best shot of success as a result, although it certainly doesn’t hurt to try to keep a little more money in your wallet.