Matthew Stafford: Rams QB under fire for walking off as NFL photographer fractured spine in fall

‘Pathetic move by Stafford, but is anyone really surprised?’

Gustaf Kilander
Thursday 17 February 2022 16:54 GMT
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Matthew Stafford walks off as NFL photographer fractures spine in fall

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An NFL photographer says she fractured her spine while attempting to take a photo at the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl victory event.

“Waiting at the ER for X-ray results. Both my cameras broke but I’m ok,” NFL photo editor Kelly Smiley wrote while sharing a video showing her fall off the stage at the event. In a subsequent tweet, Ms Smiley said “unfortunately I fractured my spine”.

The video captured the moment Ms Smiley fell, and Mr Stafford could be seen reacting to her tumble before walking away from the incident. His response prompted criticism on social media, with some calling the move “cold”. Mr Stafford’s wife, Kelly, appeared to check on Ms Smiley after the fall.

“This photographer ended up fracturing her spine and [I don’t know] what is more concerning: The way that Stafford just turned around immediately without even looking to check if she’s okay or that every guy in the comments is like ‘well bro he didn’t push her it’s not his problem’,” one Twitter user said.

“Pathetic move by Stafford, but is anyone really surprised?” Michael Durkin tweeted.

“Honestly, this is garbage human behaviour…I’m not here for the excuse of him being drunk or whatever. How do you just turn and walk away…” another account holder wrote.

Colleague Tim Kothlow wrote on a GoFundMe page for Ms Smiley that she’s “loved by all who know her and is a well-respected individual in the photography community”.

The Independent has reached out to the Rams for comment.

Mr Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams celebrated their Super Bowl championship on Wednesday with a victory parade and rollicking rally where they told thousands of cheering fans they would try to “run it back” and win again next year.

Fans lined sidewalks along the mile-long parade route as team members passed around the Lombardi Trophy, chugged champagne and waved from open-top double-decker buses that rolled to a plaza outside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Awaiting them was a sea of yellow and blue, a throng of supporters waving flags and decked out in Rams gear.

“It’s a testament to this team and the guys that are standing up here, the work that we put in, that we were able to bring this back to this city that demands nothing less than a world championship,” Mr Kupp said.

The celebrating began on Sunday when the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 after a 79-yard final drive by Mr Stafford that ended with a one-yard TD toss to Mr Kupp.

Three LA sports teams have won championships in the past two years, but the Lakers and Dodgers didn’t get victory parades because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rams’ party came the same day that Los Angeles County lifted its outdoor mask mandate as coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations continue to fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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