NFL Hires First Black Official, Take the Crusade Forward

Author: Sonali Pathak


The NFL adds Maia Chaka to the roster for the 2021 season. This makes Chaka the first black woman & second female official onboard. Chaka has worked for many reputed teams— among them are the Pac-12 and XFL games. Chaka in a statement said, “I’ve just been grinding for so long at this, it’s just an honor to be able to join the National Football League.” Chaka will be joining Sarah Thomas, the only female on the roster who has been associated with the NFL  since 2015 ad had worked for Tampa Bay Buccaneers & the Kansas City Chiefs.


About Maia Chaka


Maia Chaka has several years of experience as a physical & health teacher and has been working with Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach since 2006. During the COVID times, she worked to help students to come online for virtual classes and to make the lessons more appealing to students. During an emergency situation when their extended family member was displaced she helped in whatever way she could. In a statement, NFL operation manager, Troy Vincent said, "Maia's years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance - including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program - have earned her a position as an NFL official. As we celebrate Women's History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field."


Every year, the NFL updates its roster with people returning, changes of positions, and several departures. Usually, the replacements are taken from the officiating development program of the league, which consists of the existing team members who have been picked for promotions. Chaka became a part of the program in 2014. The complete list of all the officials on the NFL 2021 roaster has not yet been released. This year, the NFL has worked out its plan to diversify its coaching ranks & officiating. The league participated in the Black moment in 2020 by celebrating its game with an all-Black officiating crew for the first time. And, of the 14 coaching staff, six were women making it to the playoff last season. Talking about the honor, Chaka in a statement said that "I am honored to be selected as an NFL official. But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture."


From PE Teacher to First NFL Black Female Referee 


While working as a health and physical education teacher working with the unique needs of students at the Renaissance Academy— Chaka had shown utmost consistency & reliability. She has always been a leader who has inspired everyone around her. After having worked in Conference USA and the Pac-12, she will be joining as the NFL's first black female referee. In the past, she has also participated in intramural programs and volunteered for student-staff basketball games. Besides, she has also sponsored a mentorship club for girls, which was recognized at the district level. She has always encouraged her students to work hard & work dedicatedly, showing a sense of responsibility for the work they are assigned. Maia Chaka is a member of the Positive Intervention Program of the school and she is working on developing a challenge where the students can display their sense of responsibility, kindness & respect.



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