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

Maia Chaka, First Black Woman Referee, Officiates First NFL Game
Posted By: Kennedy Williams on September 13, 2021

Maia Chaka made history this weekend after becoming the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game! She made her official debut serving as a referee during the Panthers and Jets game on Sunday.



Chaka took to Twitter to celebrate this monumental accomplishment, saying, "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."

Prior to becoming an official NFL referee, Chaka was a health and physical education teacher who refereed in her free time. According to CNN Sports, she spent time as a referee in the NCAA's Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA, as well as in the short-lived Alliance of American Football in 2019.

During the North Carolina and New York matchup on Sunday, Chaka became the third female on-field official and the very first Black woman to ever do it.

"...Hopefully, that just gives somebody else, you know, some inspiration and empowers them to step outside the box and do something different.”

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