BOSTON (CBS) – An emotional New England Patriots rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser told WBZ-TV he’s going to have a controversial tattoo linked to a right-wing militia group removed.
Shortly after the Patriots drafted Rohrwasser Saturday with the 159th overall pick, photos circulated online showing a tattoo on his arm with the logo of the “Three Percenters,” an anti-government group.
Rohrwasser, who is 23, said he got the tattoo when he was 18, thinking it stood for support of the military. He told reporters he would cover it up.
But in an interview with WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton Monday night, Rohrwasser said he didn’t know the real meaning of the tattoo until he was drafted and started seeing the criticism on social media. He now plans on getting it removed.
“I went on to Twitter and 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, you know, obviously Charlottesville and these horrible things.”
Rohrwasser said none of this came up when he kicked for Marshall last season.
“Never. The first time I found out what it was linked to was on Saturday. That’s why it was so surprising,” he told Burton.
Rohrwasser said when he got the tattoo five years ago, “it was described to me as, you know, the percentage of colonists that rose up against the authoritarian government of the British. And I was like, wow, that’s such a you know, an American sentiment, patriotic sentiment and coming from a military family, I thought that really spoke to me. I always was proud to be an American. I’m very proud.”
After saying Saturday he would cover up the tattoo, Rohrwasser told Burton he’s going to take it another step further.
“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. 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, getting emotional.
“I’m sorry for all my family that have to defend me. Putting them in that compromising position is one of the biggest regrets I’ll ever have, so to them, I’m sorry. I’m going to learn from this.”
“No matter what, it’s not who I am, hopefully you’ll all find that out,” he said.