When the Patriots drafted Marshall's Justin Rohrwasser to be just their third starting kicker since 1996, I thought it was good news. Especially after hearing he was 14 for 14 in his career in the 4th quarter and overtime. And when Trey Wingo said he was the first player in the entire draft ESPN didn't have footage of, which I took to mean the Patriots found a buried treasure everyone else missed. And then after watching him drill clutch kicks and use Bill Belichick trademarked phrases:
So I was happy about this. Silly me. By now I should know better. This is 2020. The world is broken. There's a glitch in the Matrix. The Hellmouth has been thrown open and there is no longer a separation between our reality and the demon dimension. So happiness of any kind, no matter how fleeting, is no longer possible.
I hope you're sitting down, because I have grave news for you and this won't be easy to talk about. So I'm just going to come right out and say it. Justin Rohrwasser has ... a tattoo. A symbol of some group called the Three Percenters.
I'll have to plead ignorance about who they are and what they do. I'm not much of a joiner unless you count my Elks membership, which was inspired less by their community service than the $1.50 beers and free pool tables. So I'll go right to the most unimpeachable source of information on the internet, Wikipedia:
The Three Percenters (also styled 3 Percenters, 3%ers and III%ers) are an American far-right militia movement and paramilitary group.The group advocates gun ownership rights and resistance to the U.S. federal government's involvement in local affairs.
The group's name derives from the disputed claim that only three percent of American colonists took up arms against the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolution.
The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes the Three Percenters as an "anti-government" group. Some Canadian experts consider the group the "most dangerous extremist group" in Canada. …
While the group's website states it is "not a militia" and "not anti-government", Three Percenters believe that ordinary citizens must take a stand against perceived abuses by the U.S. federal government, which they characterize as overstepping its constitutional limits. Its stated goals include protecting the right to keep and bear arms, and to "push back against tyranny". The group opposes federal involvement in what they consider local affairs, and states in its bylaws that county sheriffs are "the supreme law of the land".
Look, I might be a dumb, low-info voter, but I'm not dumb enough to go around defending a group I never heard of until a 22 year old placekicker I'd never heard of was dropped into my life wearing their logo on his arm in ink. Though as a general rule, I think if someone believes "that ordinary citizens must take a stand against perceived abuses by the U.S. federal government, which they characterize as overstepping its constitutional limits," it just means they've read the Bill of Rights, which is pretty much all that document is. And I feel like every thinking adult is "anti-government" at some point in their lives, Just take a poll of the people waiting at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Or me, when some bureaucrat redrew the flood map to include a piece of my driveway so I can't re-fi my mortgage without paying flood insurance even though I live three towns away from the ocean.
And I guess it's worth asking who those "some Canadian experts" are that think they're dangerous. Is it the Prime Minister? The head of the Mounties? A professor from the University of Toronto? Michael J. Fox? I'm not disputing the claim. I'm just always leery of anything that involves perceived threats according to "some experts." Because according to one local expert, my son's Boy Scout troop was the most dangerous group in town that day they were shooting model rockets off in the park with a permit, and he/she called the police to make them stop. But again - and I can't stress this enough - I don't know. Maybe the Canadian Three Percenters are rounding up immigrants and Indigenous Peoples and shipping them off to re-education camps in the Yukon but the news hasn't mentioned it.
What I do know are two things.
One, Rohrwasser explained why he has the symbol burned into his flesh in a conference call with reporters:
Q: One of your tattoos matches a group called the Three Percenters. What’s the story there?
JR: 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.
And two, the blue checkmark outrage lobby is sufficiently outraged:
By way background, Lisa Guerrero was the head of the Patriots cheerleading squad in the early 90s. I don't know her exact years but she was dating Hugh Millen, who was the quarterback in 1991-2. Otherwise known as the worst period in Patriots history. When the owner was Victor Kiam, the biggest imbecile to ever buy a sports franchise (and that is saying something). And Mr. Kraft was nothing more than the season ticket holder who was naive enough to buy the worst stadium in the history of pro football. We knew at the time that Kiam was so incompetent and so willing to tell stupid jokes about Zeke Mowatt waving his dong in a Herald reporter's face that the NFL strong-armed him into selling to James Orthwein. But in the 30 years since, Guerrero has never mentioned the franchise was a haven for more Nazis than NASA in "Hunters." Despite the fact she's been in the media all this time. That might've been good for us to know before now.
And she is not alone. Rohrwasser is also getting dragged for liking it when Trump Tweeted a photoshopped photo of him decorating a military dog.
And enjoying books by conservative authors.
I thought liking books was a decidedly non-Nazi thing to do. But again, this is 2020 and nothing matters but outrage and how shitty everything is. So I'm not about to kid myself this is going to go away with Rohrwasser lasering that tattoo off or having it changed into the "COEXIST" bumper sticker or whatever.
The facts are that the Patriots organization is owned by a man who has been honored by the state of Israel with the "Jewish Nobel Prize," runs a trip to the Holy Land every year with a group of NFL players, got Meek Mill out of jail and runs philanthropic organizations that, among other things, are working on prison reform. In 2002, when Jim Brown gave Sports Illustrated an interview from prison where he criticized guys like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan for not doing enough to help their communities, he was asked to name an athlete that does. He didn't. Instead he mentioned Bill Belichick, saying he gives his money and his time, personally going with Brown to counsel men in jail about how to turn their life around. The idea that these two men and their families would ever bring a dangerous, unhinged, alt-right militia nutjob into their organization to kick footballs would be laughable if it wasn't so actually unfunny. As would be the idea a guy could Seig-Heil his way through Marshall and their football program for four years without anyone picking up on the fact he's secretly plotting the Night of the Long Knives to finally overthrow the Zionist conspiracy that's running Washington and the world banks or whatever.
When Justin Rohrwasser was a kid he got a tattoo that he now regrets. And he's probably a conservative thinker and one of the 50%ers who support the sitting president. Those are his crimes. And it's pretty obvious there are people who will try to make him pay for the rest of his career for them. Here's hoping he can kick, at least.