Maia Chaka becomes first Black woman to officiate an NFL game

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
maia chaka female nfl referee

This past Sunday, Maia Chaka became the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game. She was a line judge in the game between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers.

“When I step on the field for the first time as an NFL official it’s going to be a proud moment,” Chaka said in a tweet by the NFL. “It’s a proud moment for myself, it’s a proud moment for my family, it’s a proud moment for my community and my students and coworkers.”

Sunday was just the third time the NFL had an on-field female official.

Teacher makes history as only third woman, first Black woman NFL referee

Back in 2012, Shannon Eastin broke the NFL’s on-field gender barrier serving as the line judge in a preseason game. Then in 2015 Sarah Thomas became the first permanent female official after being one of two women in the NFL’s advanced developmental program for referees. Maia Chaka became the third on Sunday.

maia chaka female nfl referee

Along with being the first Black woman NFL official, Chaka is a health and physical education teacher. 

“This historic moment for me is an honor and it’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America,” said Chaka.

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