A first for the NFL

At the Panthers' season opener, a Black woman stalked the lines on the officiating team.

History was made Sunday at Bank of America Stadium when a Virginia Beach teacher became the first Black woman to officiate a NFL game.

Maia Chaka worked the game as line judge during the Panthers’ season opener, which they won 19-14 against the New York Jets.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in a statement earlier this year. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

According to the FNL website, Chaka was selected in March — during Women’s History Month — to join the league’s officiating roster.

A health and physical education teacher, Chaka joins the NFL after working at the collegiate level, including stints in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

In 2014, she was part of the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, which works to identify college officials who could leap the pros.

In a statement released last spring Troy Vincent Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations, called Chaka a “trailblazer” and said she inspires the league “toward normalizing women on the football field.”


Glenn Burkins
Glenn is founder and publisher of Qcitymetro.com. He's worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte Observer.

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