Maia Chaka made history on Sunday as the very first Black woman to officiate an NFL game. The matchup was between the New York Jets and The Carolina Panthers.
“When I step onto the field for the first time as an official, it’s going to be a proud moment,” Chaka said in a video released by the NFL prior to the game.
She went on to say, “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.”
“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 and hopefully that just gives somebody else, you know, some inspiration and empowers them to step outside the box and to do something different.
“You know I’m just in awe and I just can’t wait for that moment, you know that opening kickoff. I can’t wait to see how that’s going to feel.”
The first woman hired by the NFL was Sarah Thomas who was a referee at this year’s Super Bowl. Chaka becomes the second woman and first black woman.
Chaka has an extensive background in officiating as her career includes college football officiating as well as being a physical education and health teacher for the Virginia Beach public school system.
In a report by the Undefeated Chaka shared that it was her childhood dream to become the first woman in the NBA. It looks like her inner child has a lot to be proud of as she did in fact become the first black woman to officiate in the NFL.