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Patriots draft pick Justin Rohrwasser says he’ll cover controversial tattoo linked to anti-government group

Justin Rohrwasser kicked at Marshall.
Justin Rohrwasser kicked at Marshall.Sholten Singer/Associated Press

The Patriots used their first pick on Day 3 of the NFL Draft to pick up a new kicker, Justin Rohrwasser from Marshall.

Rohrwasser began his career at Rhode Island before transferring to play for the Thundering Herd.

Shortly after the Patriots selected Rohrwasser, promotional photos from his time at Marshall began circulating on social media. Featured prominently on Rohrwasser’s arm is a tattoo that is known as a symbol for the Three Percenters, a group recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-government” organization.

Rohrwasser acknowledged the tattoo during a conference call with Patriots media members on Saturday. Here’s what he said:

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Question: One of your tattoos matches a group called the Three Percenters. What’s the story there?

Rohrwasser’s response: “I got that tattoo when I was a teenager and I have a lot of family in the military. I thought it stood for a military support symbol at the time. Obviously, it’s evolved into something that I do not want to represent. 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 I ever want to represent. It will be covered.”

The Anti-Defamation League describes the Three Percenters as a “wing of the militia movement,” but the group itself claims it is not a militia. The three percent is a reference to a claim that only three percent of American colonists fought the British, implying much of the country was against the U.S. government.

The ADL says those who identify with the group consider themselves modern-day versions of colonists who fought against "a tyrannical U.S. government rather than the British.

“With anyone able to declare themselves a Three Percenter, the concept allowed many people to join who were not suited, physically or by inclination, to engage in paramilitary activities,” the ADL explains. “The Three Percenter logo—the Roman numeral III—has become very popular among anti-government extremists.”

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Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.