PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger is putting his reconciliation with Findlay, Ohio, on paper.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback says he intends to list Findlay as his hometown in the team’s 2017 media guide. From 2010-16, Roethlisberger listed Cory Rawson, Ohio, as his birthplace. Before then, it was Findlay.
Upon induction into the Hancock County sports hall of fame on April 22, Roethlisberger addressed the frayed relationship with his hometown based on criticism from some locals around 2010, when he faced a sexual assault allegation in Georgia but wasn’t charged.
“It hurt me very much. It really made me resent this town,” said Roethlisberger of the comments. “I would like to take this moment to say I’m sorry to the hundreds of thousands of supporters I’ve had from day one here that I let a few bad words said from people cloud my love that you have always had for me.”
Roethlisberger ended the speech by saying, “I am so proud and humbled and honored to call Findlay my home and where I grew up.”
Roethlisberger — who was technically born in Lima, Ohio, close to the Cory-Rawson school district — recalled to ESPN that he didn’t have a script planned for the event but “felt that’s what the Lord wanted me to say.”
Over the years, Roethlisberger would occasionally visit friends back home, but he didn’t experience a public mending until now. Sister Carlee Roethlisberger, also a former standout athlete at Findlay High School, got inducted on the same night. As part of the weekend festivities, a local youth football field was renamed Roethlisberger Field, to which the quarterback had made a donation.
Roethlisberger, 35, says, with time, “you start to really understand and appreciate things.”
“Sometimes the majority voices aren’t as loud as the minorities sometimes. That’s unfortunate,” said Roethlisberger from his locker last week. “But there’s always been a lot of love from Findlay. That’s why I wanted to show my love for them.”
Jerry Snodgrass, Roethlisberger’s basketball coach at Findlay and attendee of the hall of fame event, said his small northwestern Ohio town needed to hear those words. “The room was all smiles,” Snodgrass said. “It was so sincere. It was a collective sigh of relief.”