Cheering for the Sidelines
Written By: Margot Fitzsimmons
January 31, 2019
There’s a lot of hype around the Rams going to the Superbowl, and rightfully so. The Rams battle the Patriots in Super Bowl 53 and for the first time ever in a decade the Patriots are the underdogs. Many are excited about what is happening on the field, but we are more excited about what is happening on the sidelines. For the first time ever in NFL history on February 3, 2019 Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies will make their debuts as the first male cheerleaders ever to perform at the NFL championship making history on national television.
Cheerleading has been around since the first intercollegiate game was played in 1869 between Princeton University and Rutgers University in New Jersey, and it was an all male team. It wasn’t until 1923 that women were allowed to cheer for the first time, at the University of Minnesota. In the 1940s women joined the teams in large numbers, since so many college-aged men went off to fight in World War II. Since then, cheerleading has been a predominantly female dominated sport. There have been some notable male cheerleaders such as George W. Bush, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt, but it is the first time in history that they have had male cheerleaders in the NFL.
What does this mean for cheerleading today? Ram’s punter Johnny Hekker said, “it’s great that we have male cheerleaders on the team” and emphasized that “reflects the Rams’ values and appreciation for diversity and inclusion.” In a recent interview with Good Morning America, the duo (Peron and Jinnies) also said they have had several men reach out to them with interest in trying out not just for an NFL cheer team, but also for local high school teams. "It's exciting to see this change," said Peron.
This type of news gives Cory Faamausili, a collegiate Division I cheerleader of Fresno State who is the subject in our documentary called “Hapa,” hope. He was one of two male cheerleaders on his high school team in Stockton, California and the other male cheerleader was his twin. The news of male additions to the Rams' cheer squad last March encouraged Jesse Hernandez to try out for the New Orleans Saints' and became their first male cheerleader. Hernandez says his mom sent him a link about Peron and Jinnies and told him it was his "time to shine," according to CNN. Cory is excited by the new hype towards male cheerleaders in the sport. He said, “it’s really great to see not only the Rams male cheerleaders, but their whole team doing what they love. It is amazing to see them just being themselves.” It is exciting to see what is going to happen in the world of cheerleading. Congratulations to the Rams and we look forward to seeing you perform on and off the field at the Super Bowl!
Connley, Courtney. “Male Cheerleaders will Perform at the Super Bowl for the first time in history.” 24 Jan. 2019. Web 26 Jan. 2019.
Ninemire, Valerie. “Cheerleading Fun Facts and History.” 4 Jan. 2019. Web 26 Jan. 2019.
Varsity Spirit, “”Being a Cheerleader-The History of Cheerleading.” 20 Oct. 2014. Web 26 Jan. 2019.
Brinson, Will. “ Super Bowl 2019 odds: Patriots open as underdogs to Rams before early action makes them favorites.” 21 Jan. 2019. Web 26 Jan. 2019. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/super-bowl-2019-odds-patriots-open-as-underdogs-to-rams-before-early-action-makes-them-favorites/