For the first time in the history of the National Football League, male cheerleaders will be on the sidelines in the upcoming season. There was never a rule against male dancers but no teams, until now, have employed them on their cheerleading squad.
A few months ago, the Los Angeles Rams named Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies as the two newest members of their cheerleading squad, and they’ve been rehearsing with the dance team ever since.
“This one was about three weeks long and we had a bunch of rehearsals in between and an extensive interview process, but it was really humbling and amazing to be invited every time you came back,” Jinnies said back in March.
“And I was asking myself, ‘Why can’t I be down there?’” Peron said during an interview on “Good Morning America” after making the roster. “I’ve choreographed for girls who danced on pro teams, I’ve danced with girls on various pro teams, so I thought: ‘Why not me? Why can’t I do this?’”
As a result of Peron and Jinnies’ success, 25-year old Jesse Hernandez decided to try out for the New Orleans “Saintsations,” and he has also been given an opportunity.
“My mom had sent me a link about the L.A. Rams cheerleaders that just had made the team a couple weeks ago,” Hernandez told KATC in April, according to NFL.com. “She told me that it was my time to shine.”
According to USA Today, the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts have men who perform stunts with female cheerleaders, but don’t dance.
Week 1 of the NFL season officially opens up on Thursday, September 6 when the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints will host the Bucs on September 9, while the Rams take on the Raiders in Oakland on Monday, September 10.