Maia Chaka Is The 1st Black Woman To Officiate An NFL Game


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Line judge Maia Chaka signals during the game between the Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 12 in Charlotte, N.C. Chaka made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images


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NFL Names Its First Black Female Official

She said she hopes she can inspire and empower others «to step outside the box and to do something different.» Chaka is the second woman hired as a full-time NFL official. The first was Sarah Thomas, who refereed the Super Bowl this year.

The NFL hired its first Black official, Burl Toler, in 1965.

Maia Chaka is making history today.

She will be the first black woman to officiate an NFL game. 👏👏👏

📺: #NYJvsCAR — 1pm ET on CBS
📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/EaYYsuEA2J

— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021

When the announcement came in March that she would be added to the NFL officiating roster, Chaka said she was personally honored.

«But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment,» she said. «It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.»

Chaka has made a career officiating college football and is a health and physical education teacher in Virginia Beach public schools. She joined the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014.


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The Undefeated reports that Chaka has the words «hustle, grind, conquer, dominate» on a wall in her office, and that her first dream as a kid was actually to be the first woman in the NBA.

This story originally published in the Morning Edition live blog.

  • NFL Officials
  • Football
  • NFL
  • sports

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