Male cheerleaders on NFL sports teams are becoming a thing. Inspired by Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies, the two L.A. Rams cheerleaders who made history last year by becoming the first men to perform on a pro-football cheer squad in decades, two other men, 23-year-old Driss Dallahi and 22-year-old Steven Sonntag, recently auditioned for the New England Patriots’ squad and were hired.
Dallahi and Sonntag, both of who are gay, felt inspired to try out for the Patriots after seeing Peron and Jinnies perform in the 2019 Super Bowl.
Sontagg told NBC Boston, “We didn’t really know the criteria for male cheerleaders auditioning for the New England Patriots, so we kind of created that together in texting back and forth.… Two genders on the squad is a big step for any team in the NFL, because that’s not what people are used to seeing sidelines, so I encourage it to progress even more across the NFL board.”
According to multiple news outlets, the New England Patriots have apparently had male cheerleaders in the past. Lots of high schools also have male cheerleaders on their squads. In some cases, their muscularity can help hoist and throw lighter female cheerleaders to greater heights.
Interestingly, the New Orleans Saints also have a male cheerleader: 25-year-old Jesse Hernandez. He tried out for the Saints after being inspired by Peron and Jinnies too.
This suggests that the more male cheerleaders there are on-field, the more encouraged men will feel to become one.
But as Hernandez’s mom, Tracy, wisely said last year, “Those people just need to get over it. We’re in 2018. Things shouldn’t be just for men or just for women. If you have the ability to do it, you should be able to do it.”