Donte Whitner will be "Whitner" no more. According to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, the San Francisco 49ers safety has dropped the "W" in his name to become Donte "Hitner," highlighting his reputation as a big hitter as well as thumbing his nose at an NFL front office that recently fined him $21,000, perhaps unfairly, for the hit he put on St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Given Thursday night.
The name change accompanies a T-shirt campaign to defend what Hitner and others deemed a legal tackle. The shirts, emblazoned with the rallying cry "#LegalHitner" across the front, are being sold at $28 a pop. It remains to be seen whether Hitner's efforts will actually persuade the NFL in the appeal process, but the attempt is certainly admirable.
Hitner confirmed the name change on his own Twitter account, and in case you were wondering, he made sure to get permission for the name change.
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
If Hitner was hoping to stay out of the NFL's line of sight after being targeted for fines, changing his name probably won't help. The move certainly helped the mid-week doldrums of the NFL, however.