Maia Chaka made history in NFL Week 1 as by stepping on to the field as a referee, she becomes the first ever black woman to officiate a league game.
She’ll be refereeing the Jets-Panthers game taking place in the afternoon slate of games today, in Carolina. The Panthers-Jets game is marked by Sam Darnold trying to get revenge on his former team after being released by the New York Jets this offseason, but Chaka’s news is huge too.
Maia Chaka is making history today.
She will be the first black woman to officiate an NFL game. 👏👏👏
— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
Who Is Maia Chaka?
With the NFL looking to progress forward in terms of creating more opportunities for women to enter the field, Chaka is taking a major step forward.
In an Instagram post Chaka said, “It’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America.”
Chaka becomes the third woman official in the NFL after Sarah Thomas and Shannon Eastin. Considering the NFL is 100 years old, this is a monumental step.
“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official. But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”
Chaka was selected in 2014 as a part of the league’s officiating development program and has continued to work her way up from there. Before that, she was a health and PE teacher at Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach.
Senior NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said the following about Chaka:
“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance — including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program — have earned her a position as an NFL official. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”
Maia Chaka makes history today as the first Black woman to become an NFL official. (She’s working Jets-Panthers)
On the TFG Pod, Maia talked about crushing doubts and stereotypes. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Eloniye60K
— Melissa Jacobs (@thefootballgirl) September 12, 2021