Not many kickers are taken off the board during any NFL Draft, yet the Patriots saw enough out of Justin Rohrwasser to select the 23-year-old in the fifth round on Saturday.
What should be a time of celebration for any draftee has been spoiled by controversy for Rohrwasser after it was discovered that the kicker has a tattoo on his arm representing a right-wing or alt-right militia group known as “The Three Percenters.”
Now pleading ignorance regarding the meaning of the tattoo, Rohrwasser says he plans to get it removed because it doesn’t represent who he is.
“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,” he said. “I said cover it up (to reporters), but I want to get it removed from my body. It’s shameful that I had it on there ignorantly.”
Rohrwasser said he was 18 years old when he got the tattoo.
What Are The Three Percenters?
While The Three Percenters group doesn’t describe itself as anti-government on its website, it is defined as an “anti-government militia movement” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The group was formed in 2008 in the wake of Barack Obama’s election as President.
Although the national group has denied any involvement, branches of The Three Percenters have been involved in controversial activities, such as protecting the white supremacists at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville and protesting refugee resettlement.
Despite having the group’s logo tattooed on his arm, Rohrwasser claims he was given a different description of The Three Percenters.
“It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the government of the British,” he 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.”
Rohrwasser noted he didn’t understand what the tattoo was linked to until Saturday when he was drafted and images of the tattoo were being passed around on Twitter.
Rohrwasser Fills Need In New England
Although Rohrwasser has earned the Patriots nothing but controversy to this point, the kicker fills a need for the team after the release of Stephen Gostkowski, its all-time leading scorer, in March.
New England had Rohrwasser rated as the top kicker in the draft and made him the first player at his position to be selected when they took him at No. 150 overall.
After beginning his career at the University of Rhode Island, Rohrwasser transferred to Marshall. In 2019, he was named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year after going 18-of-21 on field goals and 35-of-36 on extra points.
His career-long field goal in college was 53 yards.
Now, Rohwasser hopes to put this tattoo — and the controversy it’s caused — behind him to focus on a career in the NFL.
“I’m sorry for all my (friends) and family that have to defend me,” he said. “Putting them in that compromising position is one of the biggest regrets I’ll ever have. To them, I’m sorry. 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.”