Mar 5, 2021 - Sports

Maia Chaka becomes NFL's first Black female game official

Photo of Maia Chaka in uniform as game official on the field

Photo: Mitchell Leff via Getty Images

The NFL announced Friday it has added Maia Chaka to the roster of game officials for the 2021 season, making her the first Black woman to join league's on-field officiating team.

What she's saying: "I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in a statement Friday. "But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture."

The big picture: Chaka's hire "inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field," Troy Vincent, Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement.

  • Vincent called Chaka a "trailblazer," citing her "years of hard work, dedication and perseverance." She joins the NFL after collegiate officiating stints in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.
  • Chaka was identified as a top officiating talent when she was selected for the NFL's Officiating Development Program in 2014.
  • A graduate of Norfolk State University, she got her start as a health and physical education teacher.
  • Chaka will join Sarah Thomas as the only women to officiate NFL games, per ESPN.
Go deeper