Name: Quinton Peron, 24, and Napolean Jinnies, 24
Who They Are: Classical dancers
Why They Matter: In 2018, Peron and Jinnies made history, becoming the first two official male cheerleaders in NFL history, joining the squad of the LA Rams.
Why We’re Proud: Men have a corner on jobs–both in employment and in compensation, which is unfair to women, to say the least. But there are professions where men traditionally have had a hard time competing or facing outright exclusion. One of those is the sports cheerleader profession. Though men occasionally appear as part of a routine, they are hired stuntmen rather than permanent members of the squad.
— Napoleon Jinnies (@NapoleonJinnies) March 28, 2018
That changed in 2018. After a rigorous three-week audition, Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies, classically trained dancers, defied expectations and beat out 33 other finalists to land spots on the squad. Both men grew up dancing in southern California; Peron teaches dance, while Jinnies danced at Disneyland.
“This one was about three weeks long and we had a bunch of rehearsals in between and an extensive interview process, but it was really humbling and amazing to be invited every time you came back,” Jinnies told Good Morning America.
Diversifying cheerleading squads may even help stop the harassment of female cheerleaders, which has long been a problem in the NFL.
Quinton and Napolean scored a touchdown for diversity. Their dance moves should finally give us some incentive to watch football.