Patriots draftee Justin Rohrwasser says he plans to remove his controversial arm tattoo, which is associated with a right-wing militia group called “The Three Percenters,” after receiving significant backlash for it in recent days.
Rohrwasser, a kicker the Pats took in the fifth round (159th overall) of Saturday’s 2020 NFL Draft, told WBZ-TV in Boston on Monday that the tattoo doesn’t represent who he is. The 23-year-old says he was 18 when he got the tattoo. He initially said he would get the tattoo covered.
“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. “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.
“It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the government of the British,” he added. “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.”
When asked if the tattoo was an issue while at Marshall, Rohrwasser, who spent his first two collegiate seasons at University of Rhode Island, said it never was. He also said he first learned of what it as linked to on Saturday.
“We were celebrating and hugging [on Saturday]. So happy. I went on to Twitter,” he said. “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.”
Rohrwasser profusely apologized during the interview, appearing to become emotional as well.
“I’m sorry for all my [friends] and family that have to defend me. Putting them in that compromising position is one of the biggest regrets I’ll ever have. To them, I’m sorry,” the Clifton Park, New York native said. “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.”
Following his selection, Rohrwasser told reporters he “should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol like that on my body” and that he initially thought the tattoo was just in support of the military.
Rohrwasser was the top kicker in this year’s draft. He will succeed the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer, Stephen Gostkowski, whom the organization released in March.