NFL draftee Justin Rohrwasser apologizes for his far-right paramilitary tattoo

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during his Super Tue...

Here are some photos from Justin Rohrwasser’s Instagram. I grabbed them because I’m afraid he’ll delete these photos, or perhaps just delete his Instagram entirely, but for now, you can see his IG here. Justin is a football player and just days ago, he was drafted to the New England Patriots. He was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, which was held remotely this year (people still watched). It felt like it was only a matter of minutes after Justin was drafted that people were like “hey, what’s up with his ink?” As you can see in these photos, which he posted to his own social media, he’s been proud of his tattoos for a long time. He often positions his body in photos to show off the ink on his left arm, including the Roman numeral “III” surrounded by a circle of stars. So, what’s up with that?

That tattoo in particular is the symbol for a far-right paramilitary group called the Three-Percenters. You can see the wiki page on the group here. The Southern Poverty Law Center does not have the group designated as a hate group, but they definitely seem hate-group-adjacent. Three-Percenters are anti-government, pro-gun and shady AF. And now one of their guys is part of the New England Patriots? Well, Justin must have realized that corporate sponsors don’t actually want to look like they’re cozying up to far-right extremists, because he’s now apologizing and saying that he’s going to remove the tattoo. But how will he remove his beliefs which led to the tattoo?

New England Patriots draftee Justin Rohrwasser says he plans to remove his controversial tattoo that reportedly relates to an anti-government right-wing group. Rorhwasser, a kicker whom the team selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft Saturday, told CBS Boston — WBZ-TV — in an interview published Monday that he was unaware of the meaning behind his Three Percenters tattoo. According to USA Today, the Anti-Defamation League classifies the Three Percenters as an “anti-government” organization. The group says on its website its goal “is to utilize the failsafes put in place by our founders to rein in an overreaching government and push back against tyranny.” Rohrwasser’s ink depicts the Roman numerals for three, III, surrounded by stars. He got it inked on his left arm when he was 18 years old.

“The first time I found out what it was linked to was Saturday,” Rohrwasser, 23, told CBS Boston. “As soon as I saw what it was linked to on Saturday, at exactly that time I knew I had to get it totally taken off my body,” the athlete said. “I said cover it up but I want to get it removed from my body. It’s shameful that I had it on there ignorantly.”

Rohrwasser explained that the tattoo “was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the government of the British.”

“I was like, ‘Wow, that is such an American sentiment, a patriotic sentiment,’ ” he said. “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.”

The athlete profusely apologized for having the controversial ink on his arm.

“I’m sorry for all my [friends] and family that have to defend me,” he shared. “Putting them in that compromising position is one of the biggest regrets I’ll ever have. To them I’m sorry, and I’m going to learn from this. I’m going to take ownership of it… No matter what, that’s not who I am and hopefully you all will find that out.”

[From People]

I just… don’t believe him. I think the only thing he’s being somewhat honest about is how he never really questioned what was being fed to him by the (right-wing nut-job) people around him. He was likely raised in a family and an environment which was all about how “the government” infringed on white people’s rights to be armed with weapons of war while shopping at WalMart. And he thought “yes, I’ll get that tattoo, sign me up!” Anyway, lasering that sh-t off if going to take a while. The Undefeated did a good piece on how Justin’s current story invites further examination too – go here to read.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during his Super Tue...

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during his Super Tue...

Photos courtesy of Justin’s Instagram.

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46 Responses to “NFL draftee Justin Rohrwasser apologizes for his far-right paramilitary tattoo”

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  1. FHMom says:

    Shady AF. Glad he’s not on my team because I’m not rooting for him.

  2. Granger says:

    This is why I keep telling my 15-year-old daughter — who’s already talking tattoos — to wait until she’s in her 20s, when her brain has developed enough to make reasonable, rational, intelligent, well-thought-out decisions. (BTW, I’m not saying 18-year-olds can’t make intelligent decisions, but let’s face it, a tattoo is a lifetime commitment.)

    • Laura says:

      That is some very good advice. I waited until I was 25 to get my first tattoo and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

      Tell your 15-year-old to look at something she drew when she was five, and imagine having that on her body for the rest of her life.

    • Tiffany says:

      I got my first tattoo at 19. And know at *coughcoughcough*, I am still happy with them.

      Your advice is apt Granger.

    • Erinn says:

      And for the love of god – be willing to travel in order to get a GOOD tattoo, not settle for whatever is close and cheap. I wouldn’t trust any of the current ‘artists’ in my town. Husband and I have both traveled 2.5-3 hours to get QUALITY work done. Nothing looks trashier than a poorly done tattoo – regardless of how good the idea behind it is. Save up and expect to pay a good sum for quality – but quality always is worth it when it’s something that you’re going to be stuck with in the long term.

    • Meghan says:

      @Granger- do you have tattoos? When I got my first tattoo at 19, my friend told me it was like rubbing sandpaper over a sunburn. 100% accurate. I wouldn’t even let them finish coloring it in because it hurt exactly like sandpaper on a sunburn. Then at 25 I got another tattoo on my back and my bestie lied and said he was almost done when really he had only done the outline and she knew I would straight up leave with only an outline again.

      Just saying, maybe this will slow your daughter down a little!

      • Granger says:

        I do have a tattoo! I got it when I was 23 and your description of sandpaper on a sunburn is perfect. 🙂

  3. ATLMathMom says:

    “But how will he remove his beliefs which led to the tattoo?”

    He’s showing you who he is. Believe him. I think he knew what it meant when he got it.

    • Esmom says:

      Exactly. JFC. He’s had this tattoo for years and JUST NOW heard about its real meaning?!? Of course I’d like to believe this was an honest mistake and that he’s capable of diverging from the views that were fed to him. But the timing is mighty suspect. Sigh.

    • Züri says:

      Exactly, well said! He may remove the outside symbols, but the belief system lies deep.

    • I am Mimi says:

      Yes. Basically, he’s a white supremacist. Surprised Trump hasn’t called him for a photo op yet.

    • Sara says:

      I agree!

  4. Alexandria says:

    It’s easy to apologise, not easy to mean it.

    By the way do these nationalists really think they can take on the US Army, Navy and Air Force, tanks and your missile heads? Snipers can remain in position for hours but they can’t even remain in the house without a hair cut…

    • Milylu says:

      Actually, these far-right groups have been working for years to infiltrate the military. They’re hoping that, when the time comes, people sympathetic to their views will be in positions of command and will use them to topple the civilian government.

  5. Sam the Pink says:

    I do not believe him. I know multiple military veterans with tattoos, and never have I seen this one.

    The whole thing is that it’s based on a (dubious) historical idea that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against the British government. The whole idea is that people who are
    3%’ers” are willing to engage in armed insurrection if the government ever becomes “tyrannical” in their view. That’s what it means. It’s actually anti-military, since the military is, well, an arm of the government and part of what they would be rebelling against.

    So no, he’s full of it.

    • Milylu says:

      Agree, he is full of it.
      As for it being anti-military, this group and others like it are trying to infiltrate military leadership. They don’t want to fight the US military- they’re hoping to place enough people in the command structure to essentially take over.

    • Marigold says:

      yes. We’ve been a military family for nearly 20 years, and I have never seen that tattoo on anyone–male or female–no matter how conservative or right-wing they were. Never seen it. And I haven’t seen a whole lot of “liberty or death” tattoos, either. Generally, it’s the more famous saying (the state motto of New Hampshire & and a famous quote from the Revolutionary War): “Live Free or Die.” That statement is far less loaded because it’s an actual state motto. Same message; different political tone entirely.

      Military people cover the political spectrum, just like the general population. There are all sorts, but the actual racists don’t do well in the military, and you don’t encounter many. The military is a very different sort of place, community-wise, and race matters far, FAR less than in the general population because the military levels the field in a way that civilian society does not.

      I have never seen that tattoo on any military person, but I will say that I’ve seen a lot of stupid tattoos that somebody got right after high school because it seemed like a cool idea at the time, only to find out later that it didn’t mean what they thought it meant or just to really wish they hadn’t done it because it’s no longer their taste as an adult.

  6. KL says:

    So blatant anti-government sentiment is fine with the NFL when it comes from a white guy (“He’s just being a patriot!”), but the NFL will go out of its way to destroy the career of a black man peacefully protesting government brutality against people of colour (“That guy hates the troops!”). Makes total sense.

    • Darla says:

      Really good point.

    • Milylu says:

      I hadn’t even thought about the contrast with their treatment of Kap. You’re absolutely right.
      I’ve been anti-NFL for a while now, but the league keeps giving me more reasons.

    • lucy2 says:


      He certainly wouldn’t be the first 18 year old guy to get a clueless tattoo, but given the other ones he’s sporting, I feel like his “I didn’t know” excuse is BS. People are already combing his social media and it’s all far right wing garbage. He’s a garbage person.

      • niki says:

        He’s complete garbage. And his, “oops, thanks for the do-over, I’ll look into it” is the height of white, male privilege.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes. Bloody hell.

    • Nev says:

      WORD UP.

    • Kathryn says:

      Couldn’t have said it better

    • Traveler says:

      So true!
      This is why it’s an outrage that more players in the NFL (and others) don’t openly support Kaepernick. It is mostly a garbage, racist organization.

    • ClaireB says:

      Yep. And this douchebag is on a team called the Patriots, too. Right.

  7. Milylu says:

    I don’t believe him. Not that teenage boys don’t do silly things without thinking them through, but I really doubt he’s this ignorant given his professed military background.
    If he wasn’t an active member of this group, then he’s “just” sympathetic to their ideas, which tells you a lot about him. But if he was a member…these far-right groups are quite strategic in recruiting people. Many Americans still worship professional athletes. All it takes is a certain number who are curious about the tattoo and google it- now the group has increased exposure and perceived legitimacy. It’s scary.

    • Erinn says:

      Yeah I’m really not sure about this one. I don’t doubt that he is a big moron – especially so when he was 18. People don’t expect athletes to be super intelligent – they need to be good at sports. So I don’t think it’s completely impossible that he IS that dumb, but I think it’s not really the most likely story. How many times is your average white jock kind of bozo expected to question things? How often are straight white dudes given the ‘oh boys will be boys’ treatment and not expected to explain themselves or think critically about what they’ve done.

      That said – if you’re marking up your body do some research. That’s still on him IF he truly didn’t know any better. But I think more likely than not he’s dumb AND has shit takes on things and is probably one of those white dudes who feel like they’re somehow being persecuted for being a straight white dude.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else did play up a different meaning over time – a cult leader doesn’t walk up to someone and say “hey, wanna join my cult?” – it IS very strategic manipulation. And it’s a lot easier to manipulate someone who is young and not that bright.

      I’d like to think this is a wakeup call for him and that he IS taking it seriously, though. If he wants to change and puts the work in, that’s great. But I’m also not holding my breath.

  8. MA says:

    Sure Jan

  9. Kathy Kack says:


    BULLSHIT! What a effing liar.

  10. Teebee says:

    Yeah, right dude.

    Like commented above, the hypocrisy of the NFL. CK still is not playing for trying to shed light on AA men’s experience with injustice, and this white bro gets a pass even as he outright lies.

  11. Frida_K says:

    I hope that he will learn that freedumb is never free but somehow I doubt it. There sure seem to be a lot of ignorant and proud who are flourishing these days.

  12. Jake says:

    “The first time I found out what it was linked to was Saturday.” Mmmmmm….BULLSHIT!

  13. grabbyhands says:

    “The first time I found out what it was linked to was Saturday,” Rohrwasser, 23, told CBS Boston.

    Life is hard, kids. It’s harder if you’re stupid.

    Frankly, this explanation just made it worse. Don’t get shit permanently tattooed on your body if you don’t know what it means. Do your frigging research. This excuse just makes him look more foolish.

    These are the kind of idiots that get online to tell people how dangerous vaccines are because of “something they read on the internet”.

  14. adastraperaspera says:

    To have this vile nazi filth so prevalent in our society that it ends up in a major sports franchise is sickening. The goal of this ideology is murder, plain and simple. Why do all of these monsters look like Timothy McVeigh?

    P.S. This is not a “maturity” issue. He is lying about not knowing what the symbol stands for. Also, dear Media–a racist symbol is racist, not “controversial.” Stop softening up racist messages!

  15. Hotsauceinmybag says:

    Lmao I’m insulted that he would waste our time with this poor excuse for a lie.

  16. Emily says:

    This tattoo on one arm, Chinese language tattoo on the other? Seems ironic.

  17. Aud says:

    I’m a Patriots fan and disappointed to have him join the team. I didn’t know what his tattoo meant but he’s the one who put it on his body.

    The Patriots have a lot of high character players who are African American. I don’t see him lasting long if he doesn’t open his mind and get educated.

  18. John W says:

    And remember that Colin Kaepernick is still being blackballed by the NFL. How is that tattoo any different?

  19. galina says:

    I dont really know who the three precenters are but I’m feeling pretty anti government myself lately tbh.

  20. Karen says:

    I’ve sent a strongly worded letter to the Patriots organization, and on behalf of everyone with a heart and soul in NE who supported them (that’s right, past tense), I apologize for ever doubting you about what kind of organization they are or were.

    I’m done, after 40 years of fandom. This killed it. I endured Kraft’s support of Trump, Brady’s ‘friendship’ of him and this is the end.

    Thanks to everyone here and especially Celebitchy for publicizing this. Anyone wanting to express their disgust should do so at: