San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner, has revealed he has changed his name to Donte Hitner.
The safety also confirmed to reporters in Santa Clara, Calif. he’d like to get it changed on his uniform by Sunday’s game but admitted that might be unrealistic.
The name change will cost Whitner a great deal of cash. According to a league official NFL rules stipulate that if a player changes his name during a season, he is required to purchase all the remaining inventory of merchandise with the old name that hasn’t been sold.
Whitner also added he’d be willing to pay for the remaining No. 31 49ers jerseys in Nike’s inventory “depending on how many there are.”
San Francisco posted a preview of what Whitner’s new jersey would look like on their Twitter account.
Whitner added he had considered the name change in the offseason but that his mother wouldn’t go for it. However, things seemed to have changed.
Whitner has been critical of the league’s crackdown on hits and has said “it seems like on any big hit, they make the call on what the hit looks like.”
The 28 year-old player, who also has suggested the NFL should use replay to determine if hits warrant penalties, said his name change is a protest against the league’s mandate in “the right way.”
Whitner has also mentioned he’s not worried that his name change will make him a bigger target for flags and fines in the future.
According to the team’s coach, Jim Harbaugh, who spoke Wednesday before Whitner addressed the media, he wasn’t aware of his safety’s name change, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a fan of the move.