49ers Safety Donte Whitner Legally Changing Name to ‘Donte Hitner’ After Fine, Makes T-Shirts (Photo)

San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner is not happy with the NFL for fining him for a big hit he laid on Rams receiver Chris Givens last week.

Now, $21,000 lighter in the wallet, he’s even taking to Twitter, starting a #LegalHitner campaign and creating T-shirts to back his cause. But now, the Pro Bowl safety is taking it one step further.

Whitner dropped what seemed like a joke on Twitter on Tuesday, claiming that he was thinking of changing his last name to “Hitner.” He even went as far as to ask his mother — the obvious final hurdle — about it. By Wednesday morning, it appears the 28-year-old has gotten approval and already made up his mind to drop the “W” after all.

Other high-profile athletes have undergone name changes in the past. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, formerly known as Lew Alcindor, and Muhammad Ali, previously Cassius Clay, would be the earliest cases of the sort. While Abdul-Jabbar and Ali both changed their names for religious purposes, there have been other instances of playful name changes in more recent times. Chad Johnson changed his last name to Ochocinco for a spell before flipping back to the more traditional Johnson, and New York Knicks forward Ron Artest officially changed his name to Metta World Peace two years ago for some odd reason.

The name change probably won’t get the fine reversed or keep Whiter from incurring any other penalties this season, but, hey, at least it sounds pretty darn cool.

Oh yeah, and check out a photo of Whitner’s T-shirt below.

Donte Whitner

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

Photo via Twitter/@DonteWhiter

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