South African soccer legend Mark Fish found himself trending on social media for the wrong reason on Wednesday after appearing to offend some of his admirers.
Fish, who made a name for himself in the colours of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana before going to ply his trade in Europe, has largely flown under the radar since hanging up his boots in 2005.
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However, still a prominent figure amongst many local football fans, the 46-year-old former defender has found himself trending on social media, though not for football reasons.
With the fight against racism gaining prominence after several former and current South African sports stars started speaking out in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, Fish has ruffled a few feathers after arguing that “all lives matter”.
“If you stand for nothing, you will fall for everything… All lives matter,” posted Fish on his Twitter page on Wednesday.
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After drawing a barrage of criticism, he issued an apology while defending that his stance was not meant to imply any racism but rather equality for all people.
"Sorry to offend many people… I certainly am not a racist but I am a firm believer in all people matter, so all lives matter... no matter our past... focus on today and the future... if you don’t stand for something you will always fall for everything... have a fantastic evening!!"
The initial tweet was met with outrage from some Twitter users, particularly those who grew to love Fish from his playing days, while others also stood in support of his statement.
Fish could not be reached for comment at the time writing.
Read some of the replies from Twitter users who took offence and helped make Fish trend
If you stand for nothing you will fall for everything....All Lives matter??— Mark Fish (@markfish74) July 22, 2020
Saying black lives matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. This is a stance against systematic racism and justices perpetuated against black people for 400. Saying BLM doesn’t mean one is against other races! pic.twitter.com/9FVP4YmAi4— ntsako mabasa (@mjayijayi) July 22, 2020
I have lost respect for Mark Fish !!!— oscar vusumuzi Dlamini (@oscar_vusumuzi) July 22, 2020
Abo Mark Fish WOW!!— Lennox Bacela (@lennoxbacela) July 22, 2020