We were better off when Matthew Stafford just toiled in mediocrity and obscurity [Updated]

Shows stunning lack of empathy as photog is hurt in fall

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Matthew Stafford’s go-to move when he sees someone plunge to an injury, apparently.
Matthew Stafford’s go-to move when he sees someone plunge to an injury, apparently.
Image: Getty Images

Matthew Stafford’s awareness might’ve not been at an all-time high during the Rams’ Super Bowl parade on Wednesday. He was captured chugging a bottle of Don Julio 1942 Tequila with a can of 805 Beer in his other hand. That’s the only reasoning for an incredibly poor choice that took place later in the festivities, as he turned his back and walked away as a photographer fell off an elevated stage while trying to snap a photo of him and his wife Kelly Stafford.

Kelly Smiley is the photographer slipping back-first off the stage, self-identifying hours later on social media, stating she fractured her spine in the fall. Smiley works for the Rams, Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, per her Instagram. Moments before the 10-foot plunge to the sidewalk, Kelly Stafford, standing beside her husband, appeared to hand her phone to Smiley to take a photo of the couple. As Smiley is setting her feet, she falls out of the frame of the live stream.

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Matthew and Kelly’s immediate reactions are the same, both looking shocked. Then the Super Bowl-winning quarterback mouthed, “Oh my God,” decided it was more important to drink some water and walk away from the incident, rather than help. Kelly appeared to do better than her NFL husband, walking to the edge of the stage to check on Smiley, whose camera equipment also broke in the fall. After the tumble, the live stream pulls out to a wide shot of the “Rams House” stage before cutting away. 

Smiley said on social media she spent Wednesday night in the trauma center of a local hospital, but she was “feeling ok.” No update about being discharged was available as of Thursday morning. A GoFundMe was started by a close friend of Smiley’s to help cover her medical expenses and replace the damaged camera equipment. Neither the Rams nor Stafford have commented on the incident.

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Being drunk three days after the greatest professional achievement of your life doesn’t excuse being an asshole or lacking basic empathy. And that’s a terrible look for Stafford, whose stardom in the Los Angeles sports scene is only growing. That’s how he treats a local photographer who works with the team he leads? Do better Matt.

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Updated on Feb. 17 at 5:45 p.m.: Looks like the bad press reached the Staffords as the couple announced they have been in contact with Smiley and will pay her medical costs, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.