One of the biggest controversies in the baseball world for the past several years has been about former Chicago Cubs great Sammy Sosa. Fans have taken notice of his dramatically lighter skin since 2009, and some have even gone so far as to say that they think he actually wants to be white. Here's why he says the haters don't get to him!

“Look at what I am today,” he said in a new interview with Sports Illustrated, while showing off his glamorous home in the United Arab Emirates. He has the utmost confidence in himself, and doesn't care that people have mean things to say about his skin tone, or anything else for that matter. “This is my life, and I don’t take garbage from nobody. I do whatever I want.”

sammy sosa 2018

Sammy Sosa in 2018.

Sammy's son Sammy Jr. revealed that his dad doesn't let the criticism get to him, but questions whether deep down, the comments sting his old man a little. “It doesn’t affect him, but I’m sure he feels a certain way,” explained Sammy Jr. “Like, ‘Man, I gave so many years and so much hard work for you guys, and now you want to undermine all that because of some decisions I’m making—some personal decisions that don’t affect you at all?’”

However, many people do feel like it affects them, in a way. They've gone so far as to call him racist, and to say he's shunning his Dominican heritage. Sammy passionately rejected those claims in an interview in 2009, and tried to explain why he looks different. “It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some,” he insisted. “It’s a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I’m not a racist. I live my life happily. What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is.”

sammy sosa and wife sonia

Sammy and his wife Sonia in 2009.

Since then, Sammy's appearance has continued to change, and it sounds like he's not fully open about it even with his kids. “He’s a really closed-off person, even with me,” Junior said. “He doesn’t mean to be. There are some things I don’t know about my dad that I wonder about.” We may never know the truth, but one thing's for sure: Sammy is happy. He's living overseas with his wife of 26 years, Sonia, and their six children, while he continues focusing on his career.