This is not a joke, 49ers safety Donte Whitner will change his last name to Hitner. He confirmed the news of his name change on Twitter and to 49ers.com.
The move is reminiscent of former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson changing his last name to Ochocinco. While that was more of a stunt to draw attention to Chad’s antics on and off the field, part of Donte’s move is to protest a recent fine from the NFL. He is appealing the $21,000 penalty for he laying out a big hit on St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Givens. The safely was also fined after the Week 3 loss to the Colts for a hit on running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
Hitner talked about other reasons for his name change:
I think one word is not as big as 10 words. It’s my last name and removing a letter makes it pretty cool. If you ask the fans around San Francisco, the Bay Area, or anyone that’s a fan of me, they call me Donte Hitner any way. Everything we do is for the fans right? It’s all entertainment. We all understand that. It’s entertainment, but that’s what I do, it’s my game. Along with some things that happened recently, that’s why I went with it.
Colin Kaepernick was a fan of the move, saying, “I think it’s very fitting for Donte to change it,”