Donte Whitner wants you know him as Donte Hitner from now on

Clean hit?

It’s been a tough week for 49ers safety Donte Whitner. He was fined $21K for the hit on Chris Givens you see on the right. The ironic thing is that Givens himself said he believed the hit was clean.

Because of this, Whitner started a campaign called #LegalHitner on Twitter and even launched a new set of shirts for people to buy and support him.

Now with the news from the above tweet, is he really serious about changing his name? Do we have another Chad Ochocinco or Metta World Peace situation going on?

The answer is yes:

But what does recent history say about athletes changing their names? We can look as recently as Chad Johnson’s decision to change his name to Chad Ochocinco. Before the name change, he went to six Pro Bowls and averaged around 80 catches a year. When he changed his name, he averaged 51.75 receptions in four seasons, including only 15 in his final full season in 2011 with the New England Patriots, and was a star of a terrible television show. When he returned to Johnson in 2012, his domestic violence charge preceded his release from the Dolphins.

Another recent athlete is Metta World Peace or as we like to call him the Artest formerly known as Ron. After changing his name in 2011, his stats started to decline and at times started on the bench. Before that, he was putting up great stats but had a lot of anger issues. But this is not a fair comparison though because his stats were already on the decline prior to the name change. But this did happen as World Peace. And he’s changing his name again, so who knows what’s in store?

Name changes can be good or bad, depending on who you are. Lew Alcindor’s name change to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar preceded a Hall of Fame Career. Karim Abdul-Jabbar, however, got into a complicated legal deal.

Hitner isn’t saying that this move to change his name, which he received blessings from his mother, is to cause any controversy. He says it’s all in fun.

Will his name change affect his play? No. As long as the name and gimmick doesn’t take over his head like Ochocinco, it’s all in fun.

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