The Los Angeles Rams made history three years ago with two gay male cheerleaders on the sidelines of Super Bowl LIII.
Captains Quinton and Napoleon, who were rookies in the 2018 season, are back in Super Bowl LVI. They will be joined by newcomers Eswinn, Brendan and Jose.
“It’s the biggest honor. I feel like this is a dream team,” Quinton said Friday. “We have so much representation and diversity on this team and we’re so inclusive. And who can say they’ve been to two Super Bowls in four years? Not many people can say that.”
This is certainly true. Not many people can say they’re on an NFL cheerleading squad with two gay captains either. Jose remembers watching Quinton and Napoleon on “Good Morning America” as a teenager and how their success showed him that his dreams could come true, too.
On Sunday, Jose knows he’ll do the same for other LGBTQ kids, whether they’re dancers or not.
“It’s a really great feeling to get the representation that I wanted so much as a kid,” he said. “When I’m out there on the court, on that stage where I’m performing, I’m doing it for me and my younger self, but I’m also doing it for kids like me who wanted so badly to see themselves represented in a space where they so badly wanted to be.
Jose and Brendan, both 22, made their first trip to Los Angeles to try out for the Rams. It’s safe to say they wouldn’t have bought those tickets if it weren’t for their two pioneering captains.
“I’m still pinching myself,” Brendan said. “I remember watching Quinton and Napoleon on ‘Good Morning America’ and now they’re sleeping over at our house between practices. I can call these guys who were my idols my best friends now. It still feels so surreal.”
Quinton wrote his 2019 Outsports op-ed story and emphasized the importance of cheering for an NFL team as a gay man. His visibility has certainly made a difference.
This season, 11 clubs had male cheerleaders. Outsports recently featured two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, Tre’ Booker and Chris Crawford.
Ben Ajani, a gay cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons, got engaged during the last game of the season.
As more and more male cheerleaders make it to the NFL, outdated stereotypes are thankfully fading.
“It really started with the Rams and these two guys here, Quinton and Napoleon,” Jose said. “I think it’s good to note that it started with black queer men.”
There is strength in numbers. While the first Super Bowl will always be special to Napoleon, it has an even greater meaning.
“I feel like we’re bringing this army of proud gays with us,” he said. “It’s like a dream.”
Kickoff for Super Bowl LVI between the Rams and Cincinnati Bengals is Sunday at 6:30 p.m. IT.
The pay is extremely low considering the time involved and the huge revenue that NFL franchises generate – most cheerleaders are paid minimum wage or slightly above. On game days, they often have to arrive at the stadium four to five hours early to practice and prepare (time they are paid for).
What are male cheerleaders called?
How many male cheerleaders are straight? Study: One-third of male college cheerleaders have sex with gay men. To see also : Meet Lisa Liu, one of the new inspirations for the Philadelphia Eagles.
How many male cheerleaders are in the NFL?
According to an NYU Journalism reporter, at least 11 NFL teams have men, so male cheerleaders represent just over a third of the league. See the article : Dallas Cowboys to host Fantasy Football Fest at The Star In Frisco Saturday. One of LeGette’s goals is to help more men join the professional ranks.
Do the Dallas Cowboys have male cheerleaders? Absent from these particular pregame festivities are the team’s two male cheerleaders, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, who made history last season when they became the league’s first male dancers along with New Orleans’ Jesse Hernandez.