Sports commentator Jemele Hill is blasting the New England Patriots for their decision to draft a college football player with alleged ties to a far-right militia group, saying it’s not fair that a “white supremacist” gets a chance to make an NFL roster over Colin Kaepernick.
Hill was responding to the controversy over the Patriots selecting Marshall University kicker Justin Rohrwasser, who has the logo for the far-right group known as the “Three Percenters” tattoed on his left forearm of As the New York Post noted, the group is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist, anti-government group that takes their name from a disputed claim that only 3 percent of American colonialists fought against the British during the Revolutionary War.
Rohrwasser’s tattoo sparked some immediate controversy after the draft, though the Patriots’ pick claimed during a conference call on Saturday that he got the tattoo as a teenager and thought it was only supporting members of his family who served in the military.
“When I look back at it, I should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol on my body,” Rohrwasser said. “It is not something I ever want to represent, so it will be covered.”
But many seemed to doubt the claim that Rohrwasser had no knowledge of what the tattoo meant or what the reported extremist group stands for. Jemele Hill, a sports journalist for The Atlantic, accused the draft pick of being a “white supremacist” and took to Twitter to protest the fact that he gets a chance in the NFL over the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
“For those scoring at home, a white supremacist found a job in the NFL, but Colin Kaepernick isn’t welcome,” Hill wrote.
Patriots kicker is a white supremacist. My bad, he tends to like white supremacist things. Carry on, nothing to see here. https://t.co/CQE0S7LKO8
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) April 26, 2020
Many of Kaepernick’s defenders believe that he was blackballed from the NFL for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against minorities, an act that turned into a league-wide movement. Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his second full year as a starter, has not been able to make a roster since leaving San Francisco. Some supporters have claimed that Kaepernick’s inability to get another NFL job while quarterbacks with lesser skills and lighter resumes were signed was a sign of institutional racism in the NFL.
There is no evidence that Rohrwasser has any actual ties to the far-right militia group, or that he has shared any white supremacist sentiments during his college years.