The Illawarra's most decorated footballing export Scott Chipperfield has come under fire for sending a tweet regarding an Ivory Coast player that was interpreted as being racist.
While watching the Ivory Coast's come-from-behind 2-1 World Cup victory over Japan on TV, the former Socceroo tweeted of midfielder Serey Die: "Serey die looks like a typical African. Forget how to play. Need brains to play football."
The tweet was deleted quickly, but it did not prevent Chipperfield from being on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse from some of his followers, who total more than 6000, as well as other professional players.
Wellington Phoenix veteran and Barbados international Paul Ifill launched a scathing rebuke of Chipperfield. "How ironic is this tweet what a numbskull," Ifill wrote in a message accompanied by a screenshot of Chipperfield's jibe.
Adelaide United striker Bruce Djite - also a former Socceroo - responded to Ifill's tweet with his own derision of Chipperfield.
"Can't teach anyone if they dont wanna learn. Neanderthals still roam the earth," tweeted Djite, who is of African descent.
Chipperfield strongly defended his actions in a series of tweets.
“Wasn't racist tweet was describing styles of play. They just look to bring down others. Tall poppy syndrome," he replied to one critic.
"Life is getting out of control. U can call me a racist but I don't care. I am what I am.
"Some jealous people tonight. Get a life. Life goes on.
"Haha is it also racist people saying Australia are shit? F*** me."
Chipperfield attacked Ifill and Djite, accusing them of opportunism.
"u suit it to suit yourself or story which is disappointing," Chipperfield wrote.
But Chipperfield's explanations did little to appease many.
"Chipperfield claiming people are jealous. No ones jealous of racism you twat," wrote soccer fan Jade Pallprat.
Clearly undeterred by the barrage of condemnation, Chipperfield suggested he cared only about the Swiss lower league club he now works at as an assistant manager.
"Life goes on. Politically correct or incorrect? All I care about is Aesch. Aufstieg. Rest can do want they want."
Chipperfield, 38, was capped 68 times for the national side in a career that saw him play Champions League football at FC Basel and a pivotal role in Australia's run to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup. He retired from the international game after Australia was eliminated from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Die was substituted after 62 minutes for ageing champion Didier Drogba, a move that reaped dividends for the Elephants, who scored twice within the next five minutes to overturn their deficit.