Sammy Sosa is going viral again for his strange appearance, with an engagement photo of the suddenly light-skinned former MLB slugger drawing quite a bit of controversy.
Since retiring, the baseball legend has garnered attention for his changing complexion, which is the result of some conscious choices from Sosa. That went into overdrive this weekend when Sosa shared an engagement photo where he is wearing a cowboy get-up and a bright complexion.
The photo quickly spread around social media, and by Sunday afternoon Sosa’s name was among the top trending terms on Twitter. Many fans commented on his rapidly changing appearance, with some comparing him to actress Mindy Kaling and others thinking he resembled Uncle Fester from The Addams Family.
This is now the fourth or fifth time that Sammy Sosa has posted a picture that drew viral attention. Back in the summer, he made an appearance ahead of the MLB All-Star Game that attracted plenty of attention. He went viral again late last year after posting a picture from a trip to the U.K.
While Sammy Sosa’s engagement photos may have been a surprise to many of the slugger’s fans, it’s not exactly a secret that his appearance has been changing. As Newsweek, Sosa has been open about his lightening skin, saying it was the result of a nightly skin cream that had a bleaching quality.
This itself has generated some controversy. There has been a debate over the use of skin-bleaching products across the world, with QZ.com noting that the industry generates $10 billion in sales worldwide and is very popular in parts of Asia and Africa. Some countries have taken steps against it, including Ghana which just moved to ban one of the active ingredients in skin-whitening products.
Sammy Sosa’s latest photo has drawn quite a bit of criticism as well, with some accusing the slugger of running away from his identity and status as an icon and role model for young black players. For his part, Sammy Sosa has not engaged in any of the discussion, and downplayed that there was any racial motivation of his decision to use skin-bleaching creams.