Posted: 5:34 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
By David Fucillo
49ers safety Donte Whitner has not been pleased by the NFL's calls on his hits, and he is not taking his recent $21,000 fine lying down. Whitner already announced his plans to appeal the fine, and he went a step further with sales of a #LegalHitner t-shirt.
Now, Whitner is taking it even further. The 49ers strong safety announced plans to drop the W in his name and go by Donte Hitner. Initially I thought it was a joke, but Whitner (soon to be Hitner) stressed the seriousness of it. We had these two tweets:
Thinking about taking the W out of my last name. Mom said its ok (y'all kno I had to ask 1st lol) #NotPlayingEither— TWHITNER (@DonteWhitner) October 1, 2013
It's official...The W is being removed from my last name from Whitner to Hitner...GM— TWHITNER (@DonteWhitner) October 2, 2013
He met with the media today, and informed them his lawyer has begun filing the paperwork in his home state of Ohio. His hope is to have the name change in place for Sunday's game against the Texans. It is very safe to say that whether that happens or not, NBC will make a thing about it. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth are likely to have plenty to say on this.
And of course, you have to wonder if this will attract referee/league attention like driving a red car can sometimes draw the attention of cops. If he is able to get his name changed in time for a nationally televised game, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
There were some responses from teammates to the name-change:
#49ers Patrick Willis on Donte Whitner legally changing last name to "Hitner": "It certainly fits him."— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) October 2, 2013
Harbaugh to #49ers Donte Whitner, soon to formally be called Hitner. "It's kind of catchy." Colin Kaepernick says "good change" w/thumbs up.— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) October 2, 2013
Whitner on the name change: If you ask fans around San Francisco and Bay Area, they already call me Donte Hitner. #49ers— Christian Gin (@Christian_Gin) October 2, 2013