ESPN San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner, who has revealed he was fined $21,000 by the league for a hit during last Thursday night’s victory over the St. Louis Rams, said Wednesday he’s dropping the “W” from his last name. “I actually put the paperwork in yesterday afternoon. Just waiting to get the paperwork out,” he said in a conference call with the Houston media. “So from here on out until I retire, my name will be Donte Hitner, without the W.” Earlier Wednesday, he had revealed his name change in a tweet:
It’s official…The W is being removed from my last name from Whitner to Hitner…GM
— TWHITNER (@DonteWhitner) October 2, 2013
Whitner also confirmed to reporters in Santa Clara, Calif., that he was changing his name. He said he’d like to get it changed on his uniform by Sunday’s game but admitted that might be unrealistic. “That’s what I do. It’s my last name and removing a letter makes it pretty cool,” he said, adding that some fans already call him “Hitner” anyway. He said he had considered the name change in the offseason but that his mother wouldn’t go for it. Apparently, she has changed her mind. “I’m forever going to be her son and her little boy, so I have to listen to what she says,” Whitner said. “After all of these hits and people talking about it, I asked her again three nights ago. She said, ‘I don’t have a problem with it, go ahead.’ So I went ahead and did it yesterday.”
Look at what you started, Chad Ochocinco! We have officially reached an era in the NFL where players are changing their names for reasons such as getting fined or just because they feel like a change. What’s next? Austin Collie changes his name to Austin Col-cussion? Ndamukong Suh changes his name to Ndamukong Unsportsmanlike? This is a slippery slope, and it is probably not long before Roger Goodell enacts a rule that the name a player makes his first roster under is the name that remains on his jersey until retirement. Maybe the name on your jersey must match the name in your birth certificate? I do not see the commissioner standing for name changes much longer when he is already policing everything else in the No Fun League.