If there is one thing that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hates, it's controversy. Immediately upon being drafted by the Patriots, controversy engulfed kicker Justin Rohrwasser as people started to notice one of his tattoos. A few months before his first official appearance as a Patriot, Rohrwasser has had the tattoo removed, according to TMZ.
Rohrwasser had the insignia for the far-right militia group "The Three Percenters" tattooed on his forearm. The group is classified as an "anti-government" group by The Southern Poverty Law Center, and while the group specifically says that they are not a white supremacist group, racist comments have often been posted by members on their official social media accounts.
When confronted by media about the tattoo, Rohrwasser has claimed that he didn't understand the significance behind the symbol when he had it tattooed at the age of 18. “It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the authoritarian government of the British," Rohrwasser said in April, according to The Washington Post. "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."
Shortly after being chosen by the Patriots in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, the kicker vowed that he would have the tattoo removed. And now, according to sources at TMZ, he has done just that, although there have yet to be any photos released showing Rohrwasser's arm without the ink.
One hopes that Rohrwasser was being honest when he explained how he was unaware of the origins of the symbol, but even if that wasn't the case, removing the tattoo is a step in the right direction. Not to be overly cynical, but removing a tattoo is one thing, but if he subscribes to the ideology of the group, the act is merely window dressing for public relations.
It's great to see that Rohrwasser had the tattoo removed, let's just hope that it was for the right reasons.