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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

November 19, 2013
Whitner can't change name to 'Hitner' until after the season

whitner.jpg

The "W" will remain. For now.

Safety Donte Whitner, who last month filed paperwork in Ohio to change his name to Donte Hitner, did not go through with the name change. Whitner's application was scheduled to be considered in Cuyahoga County Probate Court today. Instead, Whitner withdrew the application, according to court records.

The case was scheduled for 2:45 p.m., EST. The court's website, however, reads: "JUDGMENT ENTRY. APPLICANT TO WITHDRAW APPLICATION FOR NAME CHANGE. THEREFORE, THIS MATTER IS HEREBY DISMISSED. OSJ."

On Twitter, the 49ers safety wrote that the judge in the case wouldn't allow him to change the name unless he was present. Whitner wrote that he would follow through in the offseason.

Whitner paid $130 and hired an attorney for the name change. On Oct. 2, he said he's been contemplating the switch for some time and that two events prompted him to take the final steps.

First, his mother, Deborah Robinson, who initially didn't like the idea when her son broached it this summer, gave him her blessing. Second, he said the name change was a protest of sorts against an NFL that he feels is outlawing the big hits for which he is known. Whitner had been penalized for unnecessary roughness in the two games prior to his decision.

"That's my game," he said at the time. "...That's what I do. That's my last name and removing a letter makes it pretty cool."

***The story has been modified from an earlier version to reflect Whitner's desire to pursue the name change at a later date ****

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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