Donte Whitner to become Donte Hitner in appeal against fine

San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner plans to change his name to Donte Hitner as a protest against his $21,000 NFL fine.

San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner has revealed that he plans to change his name to 'Donte Hitner' having been fined $21,000 (£13,000) by the NFL for a hit on St Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens.

Whitner has already outlined his intention to appeal the fine, but hopes that his name change will bring attention to hard but legal hits that don't deserve fines.

"I actually put the paperwork in yesterday afternoon. Just waiting to get the paperwork out. So from here on out until I retire, my name will be Donte Hitner, without the W. That's what I do. It's my last name and removing a letter makes it pretty cool," Whitner told reporters.

"I'm not out there head-hunting, hitting guys helmet to helmet. I want to show guys can hit hard and bring fear doing it the legal way. This is a tough game. This is a game for grown men. When we signed up for that, we all know that.

"If you don't want to play football, you don't want to be physical, you don't want to be hit, don't come around guys that like to hit. That's the game of football, just do it the right way. You can continue to look at me, but if I'm doing it the right way, what can you do?"

Whitner also revealed that he had planned on changing his name during the off-season but was dissuaded from the idea by his mother.

"I'm forever going to be her son and her little boy, so I have to listen to what she says," he explained. "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."

'Hitner', who was a Pro Bowler last season, will look to help the 49ers move to a 3-2 winning record against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Donte Whitner #31 of the San Francisco 49ers intercepts a pass intended for Brian Quick #83 of the St. Louis Rams in the second half at Edward Jones Dome on September 26, 2013
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