What’s in a name? A lot of red tape and cash, judging by the ordeal Donte Whitner will have to go through in order to officially change his last name.
Earlier this week, Whitner announced via Twitter that he would legally be changing his name to “Hitner” as a form of protest against NFL fines levied against him for illegal hits. It may not be as quick and easy of a process as he might’ve believed it would be, however.
According to TMZ, Whitner’s name change will take over a month to process in his home state of Ohio. The state’s laws declare that an applicant must have a notice of their name change published in a “widely circulated” publication at least 30 days before a judge will sign off on the change and make it official.
On top of that, if Whitner wants to wear a jersey with “Hitner” on the back, he’ll have to shell out cash to Nike.
According to the same TMZ report, the company will only allow a player to change the name on their jersey if the player buys the remaining jerseys left in stock featuring their old name.
It’s unknown how much this would cost Whitner, but he’ll probably be able to cover it, should he chose to go through with the stunt. He’s making $3.8 million this year, and who knows—maybe the sales of his new jersey will help him make back the difference.
Or maybe people will feel uncomfortable walking around with a jersey that says “HITNER” in block letters on the back. There's always that chance.
If you are waiting to buy a "Hitner" jersey it will be a while. Assuming Whitner goes through with the name change (and according to Barry Petchesky of Deadspin, it looks like he will), the soonest fans will see the new jersey on the field will likely be Nov. 17, when San Francisco takes on the Saints.
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