It's not just Twitter bluster; 49ers safety Donte Whitner says he's filed the necessary paperwork to have his last name officially changed to Donte Hitner.
The hard-hitting defender told 49ers.com that "I sent [the petition] to my lawyer and he filed it for me in Ohio," where Whitner maintains residence.
"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," he said. "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."
Whitner was fined $21,000 for his hit on Chris Givens in Thursday's win over St. Louis, and recently began selling a line of "Legal Hitner" t-shirts (available in Hitner Youth sizes), so he's embraced the nickname in every way possible. He says he hopes to have his new name on his jersey by Sunday, but that seems unlikely: After his name change, Chad Johnson had to wait a whole year to put "Ochocinco" on the back of his jersey, thanks to contractual obligations to Reebok.