UPDATED, 3 PM: The bad optics of Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s indifference to a photographer’s plunge during a Super Bowl celebration is being rectified.
The Rams and Stafford said Thursday they would pay photographer Kelly Smiley’s medical bills and replace her cameras after she fell off the stage at the team’s Super Bowl celebration Wednesday. Video of the incident saw Stafford react to her accident by quickly turning and walking away in an “oh, well” manner, a callous move that was widely blasted on social media.
PREVIOUSLY: A professional sports photographer fell from the stage during the Rams’ Super Bowl victory celebration yesterday and remains hospitalized with a fractured spine as friends work to raise funds for her recovery.
Kelly Smiley was on the stage outside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday and was attempting to snap a photo of quarterback Matthew Stafford when she suddenly fell to the ground about 10 feet below.
Video posted online shows Stafford reacting with surprise as Smiley disappears from view directly in front of him, then quickly turning and walking away. Stafford’s wife, Kelly, also reacts with surprise, walks toward the edge of the stage and appears to check on Smiley’s condition.
Smiley was taken to a hospital, and initially wrote on Twitter that “both my cameras broke but I’m ok.” But three hours later, she re-tweeted the video and revealed, “Unfortunately I fractured my spine.”
Unfortunately I fractured my spine https://t.co/LeDjF4EJnp
— Kelly Smiley (@kellysmiley23) February 17, 2022
Smiley is a freelance photographer who does work for the NFL, NBA and NHL.
NFL photo editor Tim Kothlow, established a GoFundMe page on Smiley’s behalf, and nearly $19,000 had been raised as of Thursday morning.
“The funds raised by this gofundme will help cover Kelly’s growing medical expenses as well as replace the camera gear that was severely damaged due to her fall,” Kothlow wrote on the page. “Since Kelly is a working
photographer, she needs this gear to help keep her working after fully recovering.
“Kelly is loved by all who know her and is a well-respected individual in the photography community. Please consider donating to this gofundme to help Kelly hit the ground running after she heals up.”
Kelly ended up in the hospital with a fractured spine, we set up a go fund me to help her out. Please consider donating 🙏🏼https://t.co/0RoLkuxdwH
— Tim Kothlow (@t_kothlow) February 17, 2022
Smiley is an award-winning photojournalist who, according to her bio, works as a photo editor for the NFL, photo edits all the L.A. Kings games for the NHL and also works as a freelance photographer.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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