Maia Chaka makes history, becomes first Black woman to call NFL game
As some of the new faces on the roster prepared to take their place in the Carolina Panthers record books, fans looked on and cheered with every ounce of intensity saved up from their time being bound and restricted by the rules and regulations that Covid-19 brought to life. On the sideline, however, was another person that fewer fans knew about who was preparing to take a monumental leap into NFL lore and inspire generations.
Maia Chaka and the NFL had made the first official announcement months ago. But Sunday during the Panthers vs. Jets game, working as a line judge, marked the first time a Black woman would be an on-field official for an NFL game. Chaka became part of American history on Sunday. She also inspired a growing audience of young women who have dreamed of accomplishing the very same goal. This time they understand its real. Her accomplishments also helped continue the push for equality in an era where gender is starting to become less a factor than one's ability to perform.
The Norfolk State university graduate and Virgina Beach physical education teacher was quoted in a previous interview. "It's a privilege that I've been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sports in America," Chaka said. Chaka also summed up what the moment would feel like in a single sentence.
"It's going to be a proud moment."
Chaka now joins a growing number of female NFL on-field officials which includes Sarah Thomas and Shannon Eastin.