That’s Donte Whitner, er, Hitner, making the tackle. (Sarah Conard / Reuters)

Move over Metta World Peace. San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner is changing his name, too. He says he’ll drop the “W” and become “Donte Hitner.”

His motives are a little less altruistic than those of World Peace. He wants to capitalize on his reputation as a fierce hitter and, evidently, is unfazed by the proximity of “Hitner” to the name of perhaps the worst dictator in history. Whitner/Hitner made the announcement on Twitter, after first clearing the move with his mom:

“If you ask fans around San Francisco and the Bay Area, they call me Donte Hitner anyway,” Whitner told CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. “I think it’s pretty cool. Everything we do is for the fans, right? We all understand that. It’s entertainment, but at the same time it’s what I do. It’s my game, along with some things that happened recently, that’s why I went with it.”

His uncle, who recently was released from prison, helped sway his mom and he filed the paperwork on Tuesday.

“My uncle just came home and he pretty much convinced her,” Whitner/Hitner said. “He was there for me as a little boy and he went away for awhile in prison. We talk all the time.

“He said, ‘This is the National Football League, you’ve always had a dream to do this and your name coincides with what you like to do on the football field. I think taking $27 and taking a letter off your name is worth it.’”

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