For the first time in the history of the NFL, male cheerleaders will be joining the squads of the LA Rams and the New Orleans Saints this year. This is a big step toward bring inclusivity and equality to all levels of sports. Congratulations Napoleon Jinnies, Quinton Peron, and Jesse Hernandez for making it onto the squads!
Cheerleading is a sport that is traditionally feminine, known for the little shorts and pushup bras, men who have been cheerleaders have long been mocked and ridiculed. While this is a major step toward gender equality, Napolean, Quinton and Jesse have been no stranger to such. From internet memes and drawn out discussion threads. Slurs, name calling, threats, you name it. It’s apparently very threatening to the armchair brigade for men to get involved in a “feminine” sport.
Now, cheerleading is not just about the sexualization of women. It’s a sport that involves a lot of athletic skill, strength, stamina, flexibility and rhythm. All while holding a big smile on your face. Most people think of the cheerleaders on the sidelines with pom poms and clever chants, which is part of it. The other part is what you might have seen in movies, with choreographed routines to music consisting of all the best elements of gymnastics, diving and dancing. If the movie Bring It On rings any bells, that movie was no exaggeration on how much work and dedication goes into the sport. Being the first 3 males cheering for the NFL will not be an easy task.
Speaking of Bring It On, remember all the cracks made to the male cheerleaders in that movie? That’s not an exaggeration either. Which is why the current news being that much more remarkable, given that it’s been 20 years since that movie and yet we’re still facing the same levels of hatred and bigotry toward anybody who dares to challenge the status quo. In a world full of hyper-masculinity, it’s refreshing to see people who are challenging that, and doing it in style! Looking forward to seeing Napolean, Quinton and Jesse at their next games.
By Dirk Smith