Black NFL Referee Gets Historic Promotion

The NFL officiating family just added another well deserved member to its ranks. Maia Chaka will be the first Black woman to work as an NFL referee when she takes the field come next season. The NFL made the announcement Friday morning on the “TODAY” show ahead of a live interview with Chaka.

“It didn’t really hit me until just now when I saw the introduction,” Chaka, who has been working Pac-12 Conference games, told “TODAY.” “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.”

She was pretty pumped when she received the call from NFL vice president of officiating evaluation and development Wayne Mackie:

“He goes, ‘Welcome to the National Football League,’ and I just went nuts,” Chaka said, via “TODAY.” “I asked him, ‘Hey are you punking me, you’ve gotta be kidding me,’ because I’ve been at it for so long, I just never thought the day would come. I just enjoyed working.”

Chaka is one of two women working as NFL referees and joins Sarah Thomas as the top two female refs.

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