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Patriots Draft Kicker With Tattoo of a Militia Group


N.F.L. teams are sometimes criticized for drafting kickers, particularly if they take them as early as the fifth round.

That did not deter the New England Patriots from selecting Justin Rohrwasser, a kicker from Marshall, on Saturday with one of their two fifth-round picks.

The choice was controversial for another reason: Rohrwasser has a tattoo on his arm with the logo for the Three Percenters, a far-right militia group. The logo, which includes the Roman numeral III surrounded by 13 stars in a circle, has become popular among antigovernment extremists. Rohrwasser also has a tattoo of an American flag on his right arm, and other tattoos that say “Liberty or Death” and “Don’t Tread on Me.”

According to their website, the Three Percenters are “patriotic citizens” whose goal “is to utilize the failsafes put in place by our founders to rein in an overreaching government and push back against tyranny.” The group claims that it is “not a militia” and does not “seek to incite a revolution. However, we will defend ourselves when necessary.”

“Obviously, it’s evolved into something that I do not want to represent,” he said. “When I look back on it, I should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol like that on my body, and it’s not something that I ever want to represent. It will be covered.”

A Patriots spokesman declined to comment about Rohrwasser’s tattoos.

Rohrwasser, who is from Clifton Park, N.Y., north of Albany, described himself as a “hard worker and somebody who is going to chase after the best version of themself and a good teammate.”

The Patriots drafted Rohrwasser to help replace Stephen Gostkowski, their career leading scorer, who was released in March. Rohrwasser, who went to the University of Rhode Island before transferring to Marshall, was the first kicker taken in the draft.

Asked why he chose Rohrwasser in the draft, Coach Bill Belichick said that he watched a lot of video of his college games and that he was impressed with his ability to kick in bad weather.

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