'Barrier-breaking' or 'embarrassing’? First NFL male cheerleaders spark debate
After two National Football League (NFL) teams introduced male dancers to their cheerleading squads promoting gender equality, fans have responded with a mixed reaction online - with some seeing the move as “embarrassing.”
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints announced that their cheerleading teams would include male dancers, triggering a debate on social media, with many users questioning the idea of having men on the sidelines.
Two male dancers, Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron, joined the Rams’ squad, while Jesse Hernandez became a member of the Saints Saintsations.
Hernandez made his debut for the team in the middle of August, taking to the field during the New Orleans preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The introduction of male dancers was met with mixed reactions from fans – with many NFL supporters lambasting the league for the decision, which they found to be “embarrassing” and even “insulting.”
Personally I’m more offended by the NFL’s male cheerleaders than anything Colin Kaepernick has ever done.— Jason gutierrez (@Jay__gutierrez) 7 сентября 2018 г.
Some internet users considered that NFL ratings will continue to decline, insisting that the newly-introduced male cheerleaders will tarnish the sport’s reputation – which they think has been already damaged by the anthem protests which swept the league over the past two seasons.
REVENUE WILL FALL. Who wants to be preached at by over paid players, male cheerleaders, corporate sponsors like @nike ? Very weak leadership in the NFL.— 5th Column Watch (@sigtruth) 4 сентября 2018 г.
For sure the globalists would love to get rid of American football and have soccer take its place. The NFL is aiding in its own demise. They put a cherry on top with the male cheerleaders 🤦🏻♂️— ARodriguez (@DrARODGA) 5 сентября 2018 г.
Not all fans were skeptical, however, with many social media users praising the league for the innovative step, which they branded “barrier-breaking.”
Congratulations to the first NFL male cheerleader! Way to break barriers! 🏈❤️— MJ (@mj_heavy) 12 сентября 2018 г.
@WashingtonRed19 where are our male cheerleaders.I love this idea so much.— Khynah (@Kanarii_Kylee) 12 сентября 2018 г.
I'm watching a football game at my high school and they have another male cheerleader this year. I'm so proud.— Jas - 233 Days (@LOKlDOKI) 8 сентября 2018 г.
Last season, several NFL teams were embroiled in cheerleading scandals after former dancers accused their clubs of sexism and discrimination. In April, former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis filed a lawsuit against the team, alleging that it has different approaches to male and female employees.
One month later, Washington Redskins cheerleaders accused the club’s management of forcing them to pose nude for a 2013 calendar photo shoot in front of the team’s male sponsors.