FRESNO, Calif. — For the first time ever male cheer leaders were front stage and center at the Superbowl.
“If we are going to be here we need to make a statement,” said Quinton Peron, LA Rams Cheer leader.
LA Rams Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron are the first male cheer leaders in the history of the NFL to perform at the big game.
“The whole world of entertainment is about being open,” said Napolean Jinnies, LA Rams Cheer leader.
Male cheerleaders on the Fresno State team said it is about time.
“Now everyone get to see what we really do how big we really are,” said Saul Janderes, Fresno State University Cheer leader.
Male cheerleaders train every day perfecting their routines alongside their female teammates. The men usually focus on more tumbling in flips, pikes, handstands and they also create the bases for the fliers. Coach Steven Flores at Clovis United said it is a tough sport.
“Throughout all the sports I have played in my life, I have never been hit harder than i have in cheer leading,” said Steven Flores, Cheer leading Coach Clovis United Allstars.
Despite the risk of injury and great deal of strength needed to perform these stunts, male cheer leaders have gotten teased since they started the sport.
They hear things like:
“Cheer leading is for girls i don’t think guys belong,” said Janderes.
“I learned to get used to it,” said Trey Lorta, Fresno State Cheer leader.
“Being called deragatory names wasn’t fun,” said Flores.
The age doesn’t matter, even 10 year old Michael, a cheer leader with Clovis Allstars said has experienced the bullying too.
“Sometimes people will say ‘Oh you do cheer? That is so funny,” said Michael Sanchez, Cheerleader, Clovis United.
The cheer leaders don’t let it bother them.
“I loved what i was doing so it didn’t really matter,” said Lorta.
“Can you do what I can do ? Honestly I don’t think you talk if you can’t do what i can do,” said Janderes.
Now with Rams male cheer leaders making history, they hope it will make people realize what their beloved sport is all about.
“It can show that boys can cheer too,” said Sanchez.