NFL-Stafford apologizes for reaction to photographer’s fall during victory parade

FILE PHOTO: L.A. Rams celebrate Super Bowl win, in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford looks on as Andrew Whitworth holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during Rams’ Super Bowl Championship parade in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

February 22, 2022

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said he wished he had had a “better reaction” to seeing a photographer fall from a stage during the team’s Super Bowl victory parade last week.

In a video of the incident, Stafford turned his back and walked away when he saw photographer Kelly Smiley fall from the platform as she backed up to take a photograph of Stafford and his wife.

“That obviously happened really quickly and suddenly and unexpectedly, and I wish I had a better reaction in the moment. I didn’t,” Stafford said during an appearance on his wife Kelly’s podcast.

“I apologize to her for that. But I’m glad that all in all, she’s doing alright. It’s one of those things that you try to train your actions to be a little better next time.”

Matthew’s wife Kelly immediately moved to check on Smiley, who fractured her spine and broke two cameras in the fall.

After the incident, the Rams and the Staffords announced they would pay Smiley’s hospital bills and replace the broken cameras.

The Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI to claim the franchise’s first championship since returning to Los Angeles six years ago.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Clare Fallon)

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