Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies will be the first men ever on a National Football League (NFL) cheerleading squad. The two male cheerleaders, who are openly gay California natives and classically trained dancers, were among 76 finalists who auditioned to become Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders.
They will step onto the field when the official 2018 football season starts on Sept. 6.
Referring to other auditions processes, Jinnies says, “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.”
In a video interview, Peron says, “I want to prove that boys can dance, too. After college we’re not given a choice or a chance to do anything after. We’re, like, just told to get a 9-to-5 job and that’s it. But that doesn’t work. I am an artist, I am a creative person.”
“They really just fit the bill to be a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader. They are intelligent, they are eloquent, they are more than qualified to be ambassadors out in the community,” says Rams cheerleader captain Emily Leibert. “They bring so much energy, and there’s something so magnetic about their performance, you really can’t take your eyes off them.”
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.”
These male cheerleaders and their acceptance onto the NFL team come at a time when the football league is under investigation for asking potential players if they are gay.
Although the question, which allegedly occurred during NFL Combine, a week-long test of the psychological and athletic durability of new professional football players, may have been used to “throw players off,” the question has still been criticized as homophobic.