England striker Chloe Kelly tells a camera operator to back off.

Sports camera operators sometimes get a little too focused on capturing the agony of defeat up close, and that doesn’t always go over well with athletes. It’s not uncommon to see players themselves hold a hand up in front of cameras after a hard moment, or to see them do that for their teammates.

What is a little more unusual, however, is to see someone do that for an opponent they just defeated. But that’s what England’s Chloe Kelly did following her match-winning penalty shootout strike that eliminated Nigeria from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Monday. There, after a short celebration, Kelly went with teammates Alex Greenwood and Hannah Hampton to console Nigerian keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, and held a hand up to tell a camera operator to keep from getting too close:

And this came immediately after Kelly converted a fantastic penalty for the decisive goal (something she’s quite known for at this point), and after she celebrated quickly, then went to congratulate Nnadozie:

Some of these athlete (or coach) interactions with camera operators can get confrontationalย and/or physical, but that wasn’t really the case here. Kelly just indicated to the camera operator to stay back, then put herself in the way of the shot so Nnadozie didn’t have the camera right in her face while she was overcome by emotion.

And, yes, capturing emotions in the wake of a loss is part of the camera operator’s job. But there are ways to do that without getting too close, and athletes asking them to stay back isn’t always a bad thing. Here, that seemed like a solid and appreciated gesture of respect for an opponent, and helped illustrate how athletes from different sides can come together after competing against each other.

[Men in Blazers on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.