A Black Woman Refereed An NFL Game For The First Time Sunday

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Image: @Panthers via Twitter

Probably only a few gambing addicts and fantasy football junkies watched Sunday’s low-level NFL matchup between the equally terrible New York Jets and Carolina Panthers. (The Panthers won, 19-14). But it was still a historic game. For the first time in the history of the NFL, a Black woman was a referee for that game.

Meet 38-year-old Maia Chaka, who served as the line judge in yesterday’s Jets-Panthers matchup. You can see some video of her officiating the game below.

“When I step on the field for the first time as an NFL official, it’s gonna be a proud moment,” Chaka said in the video below, recorded before the game. “It’s a proud moment for myself, it’s a proud moment for my family. It’s a proud moment for my community and my students and my co-workers.”

Chaka has been a Virginia Beach Public Schools physical education teacher for more than ten years, according to the Virginian-Pilot, and has refereed a number of college games before. But she was promoted to full-time NFL official in March, and Sunday was her first regular season game.

She’s only the third woman to ever serve as a referee in an NFL game. Chaka and Sarah Thomas are the two women on the NFL officiating roster this year, though we don’t know where she will be refereeing next week. The NFL announces which officials are assigned to which games on the Thursday before that weekend’s games.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.