The NFL Has Never Had Male Cheerleaders, But The Los Angeles Rams Now Have Two

"Why not me? Why can't I do this?"

You better commit the names Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron to memory because they'll be in the history books from now on as the NFL's first-ever male cheerleaders. That's right, these two will be joining the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad for the 2018 season — making them pioneers in the sport that has been tied to the league since 1954.


Jinnies and Peron, both classically trained dancers from California, have been named to the 40-person spirit squad where they'll be doing everything the female cheerleaders do. We make this distinction because, as it was noted in their Good Morning America interview, other teams in the NFL have men who perform stunts with the women but do not dance with them.

When it came to making this history-making step to audition, Peron told Robin Roberts he simply thought "Why not me? Why can't I do this?" and decided to go for it. Of the grueling audition rounds, Jinnies said the three-week process was unlike anything he has ever been through but that continuing to get called back was "really humbling and amazing."

"They really just fit the bill to be a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader," Emily Leibert, the cheer captain for the Rams' squad (which has been in the NFL since 1974), said. "They are intelligent, they are eloquent, they are more than qualified to be ambassadors out in the community. They bring so much energy and there's something so magnetic about their performance, you really can't take your eyes off them."

This news comes on the heels of a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader filing a discrimination lawsuit with the EEOC calling out a double standard in the rules that female cheerleaders must follow in comparison to a looser set of rules for male football players. Adding male cheerleaders into the mix, it'll be interesting to see what standards they're held to.

In the meantime, congratulations to Jinnies and Peron for this major accomplishment.

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