For the first time in the NFL’s history, three men are joining team cheer squads and will be dancing alongside the ladies at halftime. Not only is this a win for inclusivity, but it’s a chance to broaden football fans’ horizons about how men are “supposed to dance,” and the nuances of masculinity. The new dancers will make their debut when the NFL season kicks off in September.
ABC News reports that Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies joined the L.A. Rams dancers backs in March 2018, and local ABC affiliate KTBS announced on August 3rd that dancer Jesse Hernandez—who was inspired by Peron and Napoleon—had joined the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad. NFL cheer teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts have had men perform cheer stunts before, as in assisting basket tosses, etc., but this is the first time that men will be performing the same choreography as women in the dance routines.
“I thought, ‘Why not me? Why can’t I do this?'” L.A. Rams dancer Peron told Good Morning America.
The Rams dance team did not advertise that it was looking for male dancers, but when the men showed up, the existing dancers knew they wanted to add them to the team…asap.
Here’s to all the female NFL dancers who are making space and giving men a chance to dance their hearts out.