San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel was slammed on social media this week after a viral video appeared to show him ignoring a young fan's request for an autograph at a football camp.
But the episode may not have been what it first seemed.
Samuel took to Twitter on Friday to explain why he couldn't give the youngster his John Hancock. Apparently, Samuel was merely following camp rules -- he can be heard in the clip saying "I can't sign that, bro. Sorry."
"Wasn't gone approach the situation with not signing the kids football," Samuel said. "There was 3-500 kids out there that I was paying attention to. Clearly hear in my voice I said I cannot sign. He recorded the video after forcing his kid to do it for the 5th time. I was told to sign pictures."
Samuel's tweet has since been deleted, but teammate Trey Lance rallied to Samuel's defense.
"1 thing you can't question is my brother's character !!" Lance said on Twitter.
The incident comes at something of a fraught time for Samuel, who has been seeking a trade out of San Francisco throughout the offseason.
Leaving the fan hanging prompted some users on social media to wonder whether Samuel had done so out of spite toward the 49ers, perhaps to hasten his exit.
But some users on social media seemed to understand the circumstances of the autograph situation.