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Maia Chaka named NFL's first Black female official
The NFL announced on Friday that Maia Chaka will make history by becoming the first Black women to be a game official for the league.
Chaka was selected as one of only two women to participate in an NFL officiating development 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," she continued.
Chaka was notified of her promotion on March 1 in a phone call with NFL Vice President of Officiating Evaluation and Development Wayne Mackie, who has been her mentor for several years, "Today" reported.
"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."