Maia Chaka, The First Black Woman To Officiate An NFL Game


February 1, 2022

She said the moment was an honor and a privilege!

Maia Chaka made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game, NPR reports. 

Chaka is a veteran professional college football referee, also doubling as a physical education teacher for Virginia Beach public schools. When she was young, her dream was to become the first woman in the NBA. In 2014, she joined the NFL’s Officiating Development Program and in March, she got the news that she was being added to the NFL officiating roster


“This moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture,” Chaka told reporters at the time. 

This past September, she got the opportunity of a lifetime, making history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game when she was chosen to become a referee for the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers game. She is only the second woman to hold the title in league history. 

“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,” said Chaka. 

It is her hope that she can continue to inspire others “to step outside the box and to do something different.”


Photo Courtesy of Nell Redmond/Associated Press

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