The NFL isn’t doing so great. Between national anthem protests and brain damage studies emerging ever so quickly, the past year has brought quite a bit of turbulence to America’s beloved institution. But a recent effort to incorporate male cheerleaders signals a move toward progress during a time of unprecedented political divisiveness in football.
This season, CNN reports, fans of the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints will see male dancers cheering alongside women for the first time.
While other teams, like the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, have stuntmen on their squads, three men — Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron of the Rams, and Jesse Hernandez of the Saints — will be following the same routine as female dancers. (Though they presumably won’t be showing as much skin.)
In a video posted after he was chosen as a finalist, Hernandez said it was Jinnies and Peron who inspired him to try out for the squad.
“My mom had sent me a link about the L.A. Rams male cheerleaders that had just made the team a couple weeks ago, and she told me it was my time to shine,” he said. “Everyone has been awesome and, [with] open arms, came and expressed their love to me.”
Cheers to gender equality … and dancing men!