Maia Chaka named first Black woman added to NFL officiating staff


Referee Maia Chaka in action during the first half of a preseason NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — If the future is female, the NFL is continuing to take the right steps. On Friday, the NFL announced that Maia Chaka has been added to the NFL’s officiating staff, making her the first Black woman in league history to be an official.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Maia Chaka said. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

Chaka comes to the NFL after a long officiating career at the collegiate level. She has refereed games all over the country, including in the PAC-12 Conference and Conference USA. Chaka has worked as a health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system since 2006.

In 2014, she was selected to the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, a program that picks some of the top collegiate officials and introduces them to NFL officiating experience to see if they have what it takes to be a successful official in the League.

Chaka will join official Sarah Thomas as the only two women officials in the NFL. Thomas made history in 2015 as the first woman to officiate an NFL game, and she continued to make history in 2020 as the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl.

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