NFL hires first Black female official

Barry Werner
·1 min read

The NFL has hired its first Black female official, it was announced Friday.

Maia Chaka is a teacher in Virginia, but her weekends are devoted to refereeing football. This fall it will be during NFL games.

In a statement released by the league, Chaka said: “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.”

Troy Vincent celebrated the decision and 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,” said Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “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.”

Chaka was asked on NBC’s “Today” program how she will feel before her first assignment.

“I’ve thought about it. It’s just a great thing that I have so much time to prepare for my first game,” said Chaka, who joins Sarah Thomas as a female NFL official. “So hopefully I’ll be prepared as soon as that first kick-off hits. I think I may have some jitters, almost similar to what it was like today before I talked to you all, may have the first moment jitters right before kick-off.”