Pittsburgh Steelers veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admitted to having addictions to alcohol and pornography and how his Christian faith has aided him in dealing with them during a ManUp Pittsburgh virtual conference for Christian men on Saturday, via a report from ESPN.
"It's not always easy," Roethlisberger told former Steelers player Tunch Ilkin, one of the event's hosts, per ESPN. "People don't realize all the time that us athletes, we're human. We sin like everybody else. I am no different. We make mistakes. We get addicted to things. We sin. We're human. I think sometimes we get put on this pedestal where we can't make mistakes. I've fallen as short as anybody. I've been addicted to alcohol. I've been addicted to pornography, which makes me then not the best husband, not the best father, not the best Christian I can be.
"But you have to dedicate yourself and understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God and him saying, 'Listen, you're good enough for me the way you are. You don't have to be perfect.'"
After missing much of the 2019 season, the 38-year-old Roethlisberger is on a comeback journey from an elbow injury. On Saturday, though, Roethlisberger went into detail in regard to his religious journey and how he deems being a Christian as "cool" and that his hopes of being a better Christian are of a larger onus than his onfield aspirations.
"Now more than ever, it's cool to be a Christian, especially professional athletes," Roethlisberger said. "One of the things I want to tell guys and tell people out there, I can be a really good athlete and a Christian. It's not one or the other. I can do both. I want it to be known to all of the young men out there. It's cool to be Christian and be an athlete. Go ahead and be the best athlete you can be and see if you can be a better Christian. And that's what I'm trying to do now. I'm trying to be a better Christian than I am an athlete and football player. I push myself every day to do that, and it starts here. It's not always easy."
In regard to his injury, Roethlisberger said he was glad it happened with him being in his current state of faith as opposed to earlier in his life.
"I'm so thankful that this injury happened during my walk that I'm in now," Roethlisberger said. "I don't know that I would've been able to handle it a few years ago, five, six, seven, 10 years ago. I know that my faith wouldn't have been as strong. Now that I know what it's about, it's easy to say, 'Hey, God, this is in your hands. I'm going to go train my butt off to get back out there, and whatever you have for me, I'm ready.'"
Per the event website, "Each year, Urban Impact teams up with Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, to present the ManUp Pittsburgh conference to over fifteen hundred men from the tri-state area. ManUp encourages and teaches men to be godly leaders for their families, and raises awareness of the devastating impact of fatherlessness among youth today."
This year's event, according to the website, included Roethlisberger, Tomlin and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.