NFL Makes History

NFL Fields the First Female Ref


Evan Pollard, Staff Writer

On Sunday September 12th, 2021, the first ever African American female Maia Chaka refereed an NFL game. The Carolina Panthers were hosting the New York Jets.

Image of Chaka via CNN

“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,” from CNN is what Chaka in a video that was tweeted by the NFL.

After officiating in Sundays Panthers vs. Jets game, Chaka became only the third on-field female official in the NFL, joining Sarah Thomas, the first permanent female official, and Shannon Eastin, who was the first female ever to officiate an NFL game.

Chaka had entered the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014. Chaka spent time an official in the Pac-12 conference for college. And the development program was design to offer  top officiating prospects in the collegiate ranks. According to the NFL it’s for, exposure to in-game experiences that NFL officials face, to determine if they have the ability to succeed. Chaka also said in the tweet from the NFL via CNN, “Hopefully, that just gives somebody else some inspiration and empowers the to step outside the box and do something different.”

Right now we aren’t sure as to if she officiates another game this season. But the chances of it happening are high and you could probably assume we’ll see her again later this season or in the near future. And hopefully sooner that later we will get more and more diversity within the officiating in the NFL and national sports in general.