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Monday, September 13, 2021

Maia Chaka, First Black Woman Referee, Officiates First NFL Game

Maia Chaka

Nationwide — Maia Chaka, who made history earlier this year as the first Black woman to become an NFL referee, has finally officiated a football matchup as an NFL official for the first time.

“This historic moment to 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, proving that I can defy the odds and overcome and pretty much master a craft of a sport that I didn’t really play but I have a love and a passion for,” Chaka said in a statement via Twitter.

Six months after Chaka was hired by the NFL, she worked as the line judge in the game between the Panthers and the Jets on September 12, which she described as a proud moment for her, her family, and her community. Chaka is reportedly the third on-field official of the league, following Shannon Eastin and Sarah Thomas.

At the same time, the female trailblazer also worked as a health and physical education teacher for students with unique needs at Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach, Virginia and was once awarded as a Teacher of the Year. She hopes her examples get to inspire others to follow their dreams.

“And hopefully that just gives somebody else, you know, some inspiration and empowers them to step outside the box and do something different,” Chaka continued.