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NFL Names Its First Black Female Official

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 09: Referee Maia Chaka officiates while the Salt Lake Stallions and the San Diego Fleet play in the Alliance of American Football game at SDCCU Stadium on March 09, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/AAF/Getty Images)
Maia Chaka, shown here officiating an Alliance of American Football game in 2019, has been named the NFL's first Black female official.

The NFL has named a Black woman as an official for the first time. Maia Chaka, a health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach area, has participated in the NFL's officiating development program since 2014 while also officiating at the college level. Next season, she will make history when she takes the field in an NFL game."I am honored to be selected as an NFL official," Chaka said in a statement. "But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture."As of last November, 40 of the NFL's 121 game officials are Black men.The NFL hired its first Black official, Burl Toler, in 1965 and its first full-time female official, Sarah Thomas, in 2015. The NFL has not announced what officiating position Chaka has been hired for."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," Troy Vincent, Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement. "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." Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.