HUNTINGTON—The last word that an NFL draft pick wants associated with his name is “baggage,” so in order to remove that stigma, New England Patriots’ fifth-round draft pick Justin Rohrwasser will be removing a controversial tattoo from his arm.
Rohrwasser, a 23-year old kicker from Marshall University who was the 159th overall draft pick, got a tattoo of “The Three Percenters,” a right-wing militia group, when he was 18 years old.
He told on reporters on draft day that he “thought the tattoo stood for supporting the military” and stated that he “should have done more research” before putting any mark or symbol on his body.
“As soon as I saw what it was linked to, it was exactly the time I knew I had to get it totally taken off my body,” Rohrwasser said. “I said I’d 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. It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the government of the British. 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. I’m very proud to be an American.”
According to their website, the Three Percenters state that they aren’t an anti-government militia, but “we will defend ourselves when necessary.”
When asked on Monday if the tattoo was ever an issue at Marshall, Rohrwasser said, “No, never. The first time I found out what it was linked to was on Saturday. That’s why it was so surprising.”
The Clifton Park, New York native began his college career at Rhode Island for the 2015-16 season before transferring to Marshall. He was named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year in 2019.
The Patriots had designated Rohrwasser as their top-rated kicker and made him the first player selected at the position in this year’s draft. The team had a need at kicker after releasing its all-time leading scorer, Stephen Gostkowski, just last month.
“I’m sorry for all my friends and family that have to defend me,” Rohrwasser added. “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.”