After being fined for a hit in last Sunday’s game, San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner joked around that he should drop the ‘W’ from his name to make it ‘Hitner.’ It doesn’t appear to be a joke anymore, he said he was serious on Twitter and he claims to have filed the paperwork to make it official.
“I actually put the paperwork in yesterday afternoon. Just waiting to get the paperwork out,” Whitner said, via ESPN. “So from here on out until I retire, my name will be Donte Hitner, without the W.”
As far as professional name changes go, this one is better than the ‘Ochocinco,’ which isn’t even correct Spanish, and ‘Metta World Peace.’
“That’s what I do. It’s my last name and removing a letter makes it pretty cool,” Whitner said.
He is selling shirts that say “#LegalHitner” on them in the wake of his fine.
“It’s kind of catchy … Good change,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said.
There is one catch. According to NFL rules, if a player changes his name mid-season, he’d have to buy the remaining inventory of his jerseys with his old name on them. Whitner or Hitner said he’d be willing to do that.
“I haven’t seen a whole lot around Candlestick, so I wouldn’t think there should be [many jerseys in stock], unless somebody’s hiding them,” he said.
With the name change there might be a few more ’31’ jerseys in the crowd.