The New England Patriots entered the 2020 NFL Draft needing to replace kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The team did so by selecting Marshall's Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round, but the decision is already being met with criticism. The rookie has a tattoo that matches the logo of an alt-right paramilitary group known as the Three Percenters.
When the Patriots selected Rohrwasser, people on social media noticed the tattoo and began voicing criticism at both the rookie and the team that drafted him. They said that the kicker was a White Supremacist. Rohrwasser was asked about the tattoo, and he told reporters that he planned on getting it covered up. He allegedly thought that it was a military support symbol.
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"As soon as I saw what it was linked to Saturday, I knew I had to have it totally taken off of my body," Rohrwasser later said to WBZ's Steve Burton. "I said 'covered up,' but I want to get it totally removed from my body. It's shameful that I had it on there ignorantly."
As Rohrwasser said during the interview, he originally got the tattoo when he was 18 years old. He thought that it was in reference to the colonists that rose up against the British. As someone from a military family, this spoke to the young kicker. However, Rohrwasser learned that the tattoo was connected to the Three Percenters and that the group had been involved in the "Unite the Right" rally in 2017 that left one person dead.
"I saw someone posted a picture of me and my tattoo and linking me to some horrific events, obviously Charlottesville, and these horrible things," Rohrwasser said. "The first time I found out what it was linked to was Saturday. That's why it was so surprising.
"[The tattoo] was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the British. I thought that was such an American sentiment, a Patriotic sentiment. Coming from a military family, that really spoke to me. I always was proud to be an American."
Now that the NFL Draft is over, Rohrwasser regrets that he put his family in a position where they have to defend him. He called this one of his biggest regrets and said that he is "going to learn from this" situation. Rohrwasser has said that this is not who he is and that he hopes NFL fans learn this.