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Maia Chaka becomes NFL’s first Black female official

Oct 20, 2018; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; UTSA Roadrunners head coach Frank Wilson (left) talks to head linesman Maia Chaka in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at M. M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2018; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; UTSA Roadrunners head coach Frank Wilson (left) talks to head linesman Maia Chaka in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at M. M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Maia Chaka is the first Black woman to be named to the NFL’s officiating staff, the league announced Friday.

The NFL made the announcement on “The Today Show” prior to a live interview with Chaka.

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“It didn’t really hit me until just now when I saw the introduction,” Chaka said on the show. “I’m like, this is really real. This is something that we’re always taught to work hard for and sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses. And I’ve just been grinding for so long in this. It’s an honor to be able to join the National Football League.”

Chaka is a health and physical education teacher at Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach, Va.

She has officiated at the collegiate level, including games in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

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Chaka joins Sarah Thomas as the NFL’s only female officials. The pair worked together in Conference USA in 2014.

“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,” said Troy Vincent Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations.

“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.”

–Field Level Media