Donte Whitner isn’t joking about changing his name. The San Francisco 49ers’ safety has officially changed his last name to “Hitner” on Wednesday, he told reporters.
This comes just a few days after he was fined $21,000 for an unnecessary roughness penalty committed against the Rams last Thursday. He dislodged the ball out of the hands of Rams’ receiver Chris Givens in the end zone by lowering his shoulder and delivering a big hit. Apparently the league saw this as contact to the head, but it appears that Whitner hit Givens in his shoulder area, not his head.
Since then, Whitner has been extremely vocal on the NFL’s policy regarding big hits, and this name changing business looks like another chance for him to strike back at the league.
Whitner has actually considered-changing his name for a while, but only received permission from this mother this week. He says that fans already refer to him as “Hitner”:
“If you ask fans around San Francisco and the Bay Area, they call me Donte Hitner anyway,” Whitner said. “I think it’s pretty cool. Everything we do is for the fans, right? We all understand that. It’s entertainment, but at the same time it’s what I do. It’s my game, along with some things that happened recently, that’s why I went with it.”