Patriots kicker says he will remove tattoo associated with far-right militia group
Justin Rohrwasser says he didn’t realize until he was drafted by the New England Patriots over the weekend that a logo tattooed on his arm is associated with the Three Percenters, a far-right militia organization.
The former Marshall kicker now wants to have the ink removed.
“As soon as I saw what it was linked to on Saturday, it was exactly that time I knew I had to get it totally taken off my body,” Rohrwasser said Monday in a video interview with Steve Burton of WBZ-TV Boston. “It’s shameful that I had it on there ignorantly.”
Rohrwasser, 23, said he got the tattoo of the Roman numeral III surrounded by a circle of stars near his left elbow five years ago.
“It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the authoritarian government of the British,” Rohrwasser said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that is such an American sentiment, a patriotic sentiment.’ Coming from a military family, I thought that really spoke to me. I always was proud to be an American.”
Rohrwasser also has the phrases “Liberty or death” and “Don’t tread on me” and a likeness of the American flag tattooed on his body.
The Three Percenters’ website claims that the group is not an anti-government militia but is “committed to standing against and exposing corruption and injustice” and “will defend ourselves when necessary.”
The 2020 NFL draft had some rough edges, but the ingenuity of the broadcast could offer a glimpse into the new normal for sports.
Rohrwasser, named the Conference USA special teams player of the year last season, was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round as a replacement for longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who was released in March. He celebrated, but not for long as photos of the controversial tattoo soon made the rounds on social media.
“We were celebrating and hugging. So happy,” he said. “I went onto Twitter. I saw the tweet. I saw that someone had taken a picture of me and put it with my tattoo and linking me to some horrific events — obviously Charlottesville and these horrible things.”
An emotional Rohrwasser added: “I’m going to learn from this. I’m going to take ownership of it. This is not who I am. No matter what, that’s not who I am. Hopefully, you will all find that out.”
For what it’s worth, Burton, who is African American, concluded his report by saying of Rohrwasser: “I did not find him to be a racist whatsoever. I found him to be very authentic and very apologetic. This kid deserves a chance.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.