Justin Rohrwasser was a relatively unknown name at the NFL draft in April when the New England Patriots selected him in the fifth round. But that was before reporters and football fans noticed a tattoo on his left arm.

The 23-year-old kicker out of Marshall sported a logo of the Three Percenters, a group whose goal is to be “the last defense to protect the citizens of the United States if there ever comes a day when our government takes up arms against the American people.” The Three Percenters, who say they are not a militia, have been classified as an anti-government extremist group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Rohrwasser said in April that he would cover the symbol, which depicts the number three in Roman numerals enclosed by a circle of stars. Days later, he said he would have it removed. Now he has done just that, TMZ reported Saturday, citing unidentified sources.

Rohrwasser said he got the tattoo as a teenager to show support for the armed forces. He said he didn’t understand the message behind the symbol at the time.

“It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the authoritarian government of the British. 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,” the Clifton Park, N.Y., native said in April. “I always was proud to be an American. I’m very proud to be an American.

“As soon as I saw what it was linked to [during the draft], it was exactly that time I knew I had to get it totally taken off my body. I said [I would] cover it up, but I want to get it removed from my body. It’s shameful that I had it on there ignorantly.”

Rohrwasser said after the draft that he should have investigated the symbol’s meaning more thoroughly.

“Obviously it evolved into something that I do not want to represent,” he said. “And 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. It’s not something that I ever want to represent.”

In Brooklyn Park, Md., Southside Tattoo is covering up racist and gang related tattoos for free. Dave Cutlip calls it his Random Acts of Tattoo Project. (Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

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