Rams and Matthew Stafford to cover medical bills of injured photographer
A photographer for the NFL fell off the stage as she took a photo of L.A. Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The Los Angeles Rams and quarterback Matthew Stafford and his wife will cover the medical bills for team photographer Kelly Smiley, who fractured her back after falling from a stage at the Super Bowl victory rally Wednesday, officials said.
Footage shot by Spectrum shows Smiley falling from the stage and the quarterback immediately turning away as his wife, Kelly Stafford, attempts to help.
“We have been in communication with Kelly Smiley since yesterday’s incident, and we are sorry for what happened,” the Staffords and the Rams wrote in a statement emailed to The Times. “As we told Kelly, we will be covering all her hospital bills and replacing her cameras. We wish her a speedy recovery.”
Los Angeles honors the Rams for their first Super Bowl win in L.A. The parade wound through the Exposition Park area and ended with a rally outside the Coliseum.
The footage shows Stafford standing with his wife in front of Smiley, who was attempting to take footage or photos with a cellphone. Smiley appears to take a few small steps back before falling off the front of the 7- to 8-foot-tall stage where the Rams held a rally in front of a crowd of thousands gathered at Exposition Park.
The Rams quarterback appears to say, “Oh, my God,” before turning around and walking in the opposite direction.
A stunned Kelly Stafford walks to the end of the stage and appears to talk with Smiley and is joined by people who appear to be assisting with the event. The footage then cuts out, marking the end of the broadcast.
Smiley took to social media in the hours after the incident stating that she had undergone X-rays and had fractured her spine. She also broke two of her cameras.
The photographer appeared in good spirits on Instagram, where she posted a story from the hospital waiting room wearing what appeared to be a brace. She waves at the camera before giving a small shrug.
In another slide, Smiley is giving a thumbs up above a caption that reads, “Feeling ok. Staying the night in the trauma center. Thank you everyone for reaching out.”
NFL photo editor Tim Kothlow launched a GoFundMe for Smiley, which had raised nearly $40,000 in 13 hours. The fundraiser had a listed goal of $30,000.
The funds will go toward Smiley’s medical expenses and new equipment.
“Kelly is loved by all who know her and is a well-respected individual in the photography community,” Kothlow wrote.
The story caught fire on social media, with some slamming Stafford’s apparent reaction to the incident as inconsiderate and selfish.
“It appears as if Matthew Stafford has incorporated this ‘no look’ thing into every day life,” tweeted sports-talk personality “Cousin” Sal Iacono.
“Nothing less attractive than a man handing off all compassion duties to his wife. Men, have a heart,” tweeted Leah Voss, chief visuals journalist with the Treasure Coast Palm newspaper in Florida.
“Would be nice to see Matthew Stafford give her one of his millions,” she wrote alongside a link to the GoFundMe page.
Note: After this story was published, several other news outlets reported that racist posts made on Smiley’s Twitter account in the past had been uncovered. Smiley has since deleted her Twitter account.
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