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NFL Makes History With First All-Black Officiating Crew Including 3 Women

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by Paulina Isaac

December 17, 2023

History was recently made!

During last week’s NFL game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers, history was made with the first all-Black on-field and replay officiating crew, which included three women. The officiating crew included Maia Chaka, who served as the line judge; Artenzia Young-Seigler, the replay official; and Desiree Abrams, the replay assistant. The crew called a combined ten penalties for 95 yards in the game.

The NFL posted about the memorable moment on social media with the hashtag #InspireChange.

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The NFL has recently improved its diversity and inclusion efforts. Now, the NFL has nine full-time Black general managers, five full-time Black team presidents, and four head coaches, including Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce, whose team had a 63-21 victory on Thursday.

However, this historic moment has been years in the making. The first-ever NFL game to be officiated by an all-Black crew was on November 23, 2020, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played against the Los Angeles Rams. Sarah Thomas became the first female to work as an on-field official in 2006. And all of this happened nearly two decades after the NFL’s first Black referee, Johnny Grier, who was promoted from field judge in 1988.

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“We’re focused on working with the clubs to improve diversity up and down the ranks of the NFL in their organizations,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer, said during the media session. “It’s really the humans-to-human connection and building relationships that hopefully are long-standing.”

(Cover photo: Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers Officiating Crew/Photo Courtesy of NFL)

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