Cheerleading isn’t just a sideline spectacle – it’s a sport. You’ve seen Bring It On, you know how hard they work (and you might even know how little they get paid).
Of course, Bring It On also educated us on another important point: there are cheerleaders who are dudes.
And this year’s Super Bowl saw history being made, with male cheerleaders performing at the event for the first time ever. Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies have been on the Los Angeles Rams squad all season, and just became the first men to be part of a Super Bowl dance team.
“If you have the talent and skill set, you shouldn’t be discriminated on the basis of sex,” a Rams spokesperson said simply.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 1, 2019
The Rams aren’t the only franchise to have a more inclusive cheer squad this season – the New Orleans Saints debuted Jesse Hernandez as part of their dance team.
And the Baltimore Ravens have male members of their “stunt team” – burly dudes who who don’t participate in the full choreography, but help throw the dance team members in the air, and other such feats of strength.
Jinnies, Peron and Hernandez are full-fledged members of their cheer teams, though, and the two Rams looked absolutely stoked to be there on Sunday night.
When the best thing about the Super Bowl is the presence of male cheerleaders. pic.twitter.com/RdNNTO7ikf
— Miguel L Castillo (@MiguelLCastill2) February 4, 2019
In a game where there was more fun to be had in roasting the half-time performance than actually watching the play, their energy and the inclusivity on show was a clear highlight.
Of course, if you care to, you can go and find any number of well-adjusted adults being whiny little babies about this on the internet.
Here’s the thing, though: if you object to men being cheerleaders, it’s pretty obvious exactly what you think cheerleaders add to the atmosphere.
Of course, given that the ladies in the Rams’ squad were wearing a bit less than Jinnies and Peron, a few people did point out that true equality would see everyone on the squad wearing similar uniforms.
Ok cool, I’m all for the male cheerleaders if it’s important to folks, but how come they aren’t required to dress super skimpy & sexy like the girls? Just wondering 🤷♀️ Rams’ male cheerleaders make NFL history at Super Bowl – Los Angeles Times https://t.co/mKdqRrJAlo
— Kristy Swanson (@KristySwansonXO) February 4, 2019
So the rams have two male cheerleaders 📣 but they don’t have pom poms!! That’s a iconic part of being a cheerleader!! Give them the pom poms!!
— Kawaiigeology (@kawaiigeology) February 4, 2019
And look, that would probably be a bit much for the geniuses commenting “gaaAyyyayyyy” under every online mention of the milestone.
Which, to be honest, makes me hope it’s wall-to-wall dudes in booty shorts at Super Bowl LIV next year.