Whitner was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play when he drove his shoulder into Givens' face mask and dislodged the ball. He was flagged for a personal foul penalty for hitting a defenseless player above the shoulder.
The league deemed the hit a finable offense, but Whitner told The Sacramento Bee that Givens told him after the play that he believed it was a clean hit.
"If the guy that was hit thought it was legal, then I don't know what else to do," Whitner said.
Whitner said he was aiming lower than Givens' shoulders, but the wide receiver dipped into his hit.
The 49ers safety, once heralded for a debilitating hit on New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas in the 2011 playoffs, has been vocal about the NFL's culture change regarding big hits. He even joked about taking the "W" out of his last name and becoming Donte Hitner, per CBS Sports.
"The game is changing," Whitner said Tuesday. "I don't know what we can do as players -- just put flags on and pull those off. Maybe fans will like that. Maybe not."