Beliefnet
Inspiration Report

2000px-Los_Angeles_Rams_wordmark.svgThe NLF is once again back in the spotlight. This time, however, it is not the players who are in the spotlight. It is the cheerleaders.

The Los Angeles Rams have garnered national attention after adding two men to their cheerleading squad. Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies are both classically trained dancers and have spent their entire lives on stage. Peron said that he was inspired to try out for the squad after watching the Laker Girls perform at an LA Lakers game.

“I thought, ‘Why not me? Why can’t I do this?’” said Peron. “So I called my friend and I asked her when auditions were for the Rams and she told me Sunday and I showed up.”

Jinnies described the audition as a lengthy and grueling process. “[The audition] 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. High emotions, but it was worth it.”

The two men were among the lucky finalists chosen for the 40 person squad. For Peron, making the squad is a way for him to make a point. “I want to prove that boys can dance, too,” Peron said. “After college we’re not given a choice or a chance to do anything after. We’re, like, just told to get a nine to five job and that’s it. But that doesn’t work. I am an artist, I am a creative person.”

The Rams are claiming that the addition of Jinnies and Peron to their cheer squad is making history, but other teams disagree. Former Atlanta Falcons cheer squad member Billy Quercia came forward to point out that male cheerleaders are not actually anything new. The Falcons cheer squad was composed of 12 men and 12 women during the 1987 and 1988 seasons. The men were true cheerleaders as well. They did the dance routines with the women instead of being relegated to throws only. Similarly, the Baltimore Ravens had male cheerleaders who helped with stunts, and the Tennessee Titans had male yell leaders.

Still, Jinnies and Peron have been getting a great deal of media coverage recently, and Quercia is delighted to see more male cheerleaders.  “I think it’s fabulous that that’s happening because we’re all one people and I think that’s awesome,” Quercia said. “They have it going on. They know what they’re doing. I’ve seen them: they’re very, very good and very professional. And they deserve to be where they’re at.”

The NFL regular season starts on September 6th, and the preseason will begin on August 2nd with the Chicago Bears facing off against the Baltimore Ravens.

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