Ben Roethlisberger talks past porn, alcohol addictions: 'Not the best Christian I can be'

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Ben Roethlisberger says he’s a changed man.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who’s twice been accused of sexual assault said he wasn’t ready for the fame and fortune provided an NFL star when he joined the league and that he lost touch with his Christian values en route to bouts with alcohol and pornography addictions.

Roethlisberger made these claims as a guest speaker at a virtual conference on Saturday called ManUp Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. He said that since he married his wife, Ashley Harlan, he’s reconnected with his Christian faith.

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‘Not the best Christian I can be’

“I’ve fallen as short as anybody,” Roethlisberger said, per the Tribune-Review. “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.

“You have to dedicate yourself and understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God.”

He also claims that being baptized for a second time three years ago has made him a better man.

“I just felt that I needed to do that,” he said. “I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family — become a better person.”

Roethlisberger’s sexual assault allegations

Roethlisberger was accused of separate instances of sexual assault in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, Andrea McNulty filed a civil suit against Roethlisberger, accusing him of raping her in his Nevada hotel room in 2008. The case was settled out of court.

In 2010, a woman filed a criminal complaint against Roethlisberger accusing him of following her into a bathroom stall in a Georgia nightclub and raping her. The accuser eventually asked the district attorney on the case not to prosecute, and charges were dropped.

Roethlisberger married Harlan in 2011.

Ben Roethlisberger, who's twice been accused of sexual assault, says he's a changed man. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Ben Roethlisberger, who's twice been accused of sexual assault, says he's a changed man. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

‘We get addicted to things — we sin’

The Tribune-Review report did not note any mention of the rape accusations during Roethlisberger’s appearance on Saturday. He did admit to making “mistakes,” getting “addicted to things” and “sin.”

“I’m trying to be a better Christian than I am an athlete at football,” Roethlisberger said. “I push myself every day to do that. It starts here. It’s not always easy. People don’t realize all the time that us athletes, we’re human. We sin like everyone else. We make mistakes. We get addicted to things. We sin.”

The upcoming season will be Roethlisberger’s 17th in the NFL, all with the Steelers. He missed all but two games last season with an elbow injury, but expects to be ready when the season starts.

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