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Donte Whitner Tackles Issue of NFL Hits, Fines

Posted Nov 27, 2013

The 49ers safety discussed the potential use of on-field replay to clarify the league's stance on high-impact plays such as Ahmad Brooks' Week 11 strip-sack of Drew Brees.

Ten days after the 49ers disappointing Week 11 loss at New Orleans – and nine days after Tweeting his desire to speak publicly about the game’s momentous play – Donte Whitner spoke out on Wednesday afternoon about the NFL’s handling of hits on the quarterback.

Whitner spoke passionately.

“It pertained to costing us the football game with the New Orleans Saints,” Whitner said. “I knew it would cost us a game at some point, and it’s going to cost another team a game at some point when it matters. It might be the playoffs, or it could be the Super Bowl. We really need to get something done about that – replay, something – so it doesn’t cost us football games, because we really deserved to win that game.”

That game being San Francisco’s 23-20 loss at New Orleans.

While the 49ers held a three-point advantage with three-plus minutes left in the fourth quarter, linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked and stripped Saints signal-caller Drew Brees of the ball and fellow ‘backer Patrick Willis picked it up. Brooks, however, was issued a 15-yard penalty for making contact with Brees above Brees’ shoulder pads.

“He did everything he was supposed to do,” Whitner said of his penalized teammate.

Whitner also addressed the idea of a player being penalized twice. Brooks, for example, was penalized yardage on the play in question and fined.

Like Brooks, Whitner has appealed his own fine for his Week 4 end-zone tackle of St. Louis Rams wideout Chris Givens.

“I appealed it maybe three, four days later, talked to ‘em on the phone, didn’t get fined, they didn’t take money from me,” Whitner said. “I haven’t heard from ‘em since and it’s been about six weeks.

“We’re just out there playing for no reason because we bust our butt every day. We have guys that want to come to work and want to win football games, and we want to be a great defense. We go out there and do all those things right and we get penalized for doing things right, then we’re just being counterproductive, so we need to do something about that as far as the NFL, as far as players and coming together because it’s going to cost somebody a big game.”

Whitner questioned the accessibility players have to clarify the rules in place, but he alluded to one outlet for his frustration: Sunday’s Week 13 matchup versus a conference rival in Givens' Rams.

“We’re not going to cry about it,” Whitner said. “We’re going to out there and make St. Louis feel what they’re supposed to feel, and that’s a great defense, flying around and being physical.”

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