In March 2018, Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies made history as the first men ever to be accepted onto a NFL cheerleading squad. But it looks like they won’t be the only men cheering on field this coming season because 25-year-old Jesse Hernandez was recently chosen as a male cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints.
The Louisiana native has been dancing since he was two years old, performed on his high school’s dance team and has also professionally taught routines to high school and college cheerleading squads.
He only tried out for the team after his mom sent him a newspaper clipping about Peron and Jinnies becoming male members of the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad.
After attending a professional cheerleading training camp in Biloxi, Mississippi, he attended his first try out for the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad on April 20. He made it to the second round among 51 other people and had to dance in a group routine to a mix featuring Pitbull and Lil’ Jon as well as a four-person dance routine with a kickline set to a Justin Timberlake song.
“It was nerve-wracking at first,” Hernandez told The Advocate. “But once I got out there, it was go time.… I’ve been training for this my whole life.”
JesseHernandez was eventually accepted as the only male on its 25-member Saintsations cheerleading team.
Male NFL cheerleaders are a relatively new phenomemon. ABC News reports, “Both the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts have male stuntmen, but Peron and Jinnies are the first-ever male dancers for a professional NFL team.”
All three male cheerleaders will step onto the field when the official 2018 football season starts on Sept. 6.