The NFL draft, which took place over the weekend, changed the lives of dozens of athletes. However, one of them is catching flack due to his alleged ties to White supremacist ideologies.
Justin Rohrwasser, a kicker from Marshall University, was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the NFL draft. Rohrwasser has a tattoo of the Three Percenters logo. The Three Percenters are a far-right militia group that seeks to limit the federal government’s involvement in local affairs. They came to prominence after the election of President Barack Obama.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Three Percenters are “groups that are trying to exploit and to fan the anti-government sentiment that grew over President Obama’s first year in office.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center stated that the Three Percenters and other anti-government groups were “fueled by immigration, the struggling economy, and the election of the first Black American president…the movement has gravitated more toward the same White nationalist themes that animate the Trump administration.”
When the Patriots drafted Rohrwasser, the backlash began on social media. Former ESPN reporter Jemele Hill tweeted that Rohrwasser was allowed to embrace White nationalism while Colin Kaepernick was essentially blackballed for taking a knee to fight racial injustice.
“For those scoring at home, a White supremacist found a job in the NFL, but Colin Kaepernick isn’t welcome,” Hill tweeted.
Following the backlash, Rohrwasser claimed that he got the tattoo when he was a “misinformed” teenager and will have it removed.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but covering up your white supremacist tattoos doesn’t really matter if you still think like a white supremacist
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) April 26, 2020