SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner said via Twitter this week that he officially plans on changing his name to Hitner.

Apparently the hard-hitting defensive back is fed up with being fined by the NFL. He was just dinged $21,000 for a hit on St. Louis Rams wideout Chris Givens last Thursday. The name change appeared to be a joke when he first brought it up on Twitter, saying he’d need permission from his mother, Deborah, to do so:

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But he soon began promoting t-shirts that read #LegalHitner. And as of Wednesday morning, Whitner said the move was official:

The Associated Press confirmed that Whitner has filed paperwork in Ohio through his lawyer to formally change his name to Hitner by removing the ‘W’.

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Whitner indicated that he would love to debut his new name for Sunday night’s prime-time game with the Houston Texans, but realistically it will probably take another week before his new name is on the back of his uniform, which would be the Oct. 13 game at Arizona.

He has also been in touch with Nike to determine how many No. 31 Whitner jerseys are still in retail stores and whether he might need to financially contribute to make the switch.

As CBS Sports has observed, this isn’t the 1st time an NFL star has changed grabbed headlines for a name change.

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