Professional football players face many temptations, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admits that he gave into several of them. However, he recently was baptized a second time to show his commitment to Christ, his wife and children.
“I’ve fallen as short as anybody,” he said. “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.”
Roethlisberger spoke at a virtual conference called ManUp Pittsburgh, an annual gathering for 1,500 men sponsored by the Christian organization Urban Impact in conjunction with Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. The conference seeks to encourage and teach men to be “godly leaders for their families” and raise awareness of the “devastating impact of fatherlessness among youth today.” Because of the coronavirus crisis, the conference was held online this year.
The veteran quarterback advised the men struggling with their addictions that they have to dedicate themselves. “You have to understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God and him saying, ‘Listen, you are good enough for me the way you are,’” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger explained that he grew up in the church, went to services every Sunday and had great parents who are “great Christian people.” He said he gave his life to Christ in middle school. However, he struggled in his faith after he went off to play football at the University of Miami in Ohio, a struggle that continued through his early years in the NFL. In 2011, Roethlisberger married his wife, Ashley Harlan, an experience that he said has brought God back into the center of his life.
Three years ago, he got baptized for a second time, which reinvigorated his faith.
“I got baptized as a baby, but I didn’t make that decision,” he said. “I just felt that I needed to do that. I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, with my wife, with my kids, my family, become a better person.
“Jesus is the one that brought me back to Him. I am so thankful for it, because I feel I am a better Christian, and a better husband and a better father today because of His forgiveness of me.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice