Maia Chaka has made history as the first ever Black female official in the NFL as well as the second woman among the NFL’s on-field officials.
Chaka was selected as one of only two women to participate in an NFL officiating developmental program seven years ago and now she has risen to join the ranks of officials, according to NBC’s Today.
“It didn’t really hit me until just now,” Chaka said in an interview on Friday with Today. “When I saw the introduction, I’m like, ‘This is really real,’ because this is just something that we’re just always taught to work hard for. Sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses.”
“I’ve just been grinding for so long at this, it’s just an honor to be able to join the National Football League.”
Chaka was notified of her promotion a few days ago in a phone call with NFL Vice President of Officiating Evaluation and Development Wayne Mackie.
“He goes, ‘Welcome to the National Football League,’ and I just went nuts,” Chaka told NBC. “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.”