LA Rams Male Cheerleaders Will Make History At This Year’s Super Bowl

The LA Rams cheerleaders (screen capture)

Last Spring, I reported on Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron becoming the first male cheerleaders to dance in the NFL when they auditioned and made the Los Angeles Rams cheer squad.

The 2018 season marked the first time men danced at NFL games as part of the official cheer squads. Jinnies and Peron joined the Rams, and Jesse Hernandez joined the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders.

Other teams, like the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts have had men on their cheer squads but they acted primarily as stunt men, not dancers, lifting the female cheerleaders.

Jinnies, Peron and Hernandez have been getting down doing the same dance routines as the ladies, albeit without pompoms.

Now, with the Rams heading to the Super Bowl, that means more history in the making as the guys are set to become the first-ever male cheerleaders to dance at a Super Bowl.

Now, with the Rams heading to the Super Bowl, that means more history in the making as the guys are set to become the first-ever male cheerleaders to dance at a Super Bowl.
Quentin Peron, Napoleon Jinnies and Emily Leibert for the LA Rams 

The men appeared alongside their coach, Emily Leibert, on Good Morning America today. They say heading to the Super Bowl as part of their first season with the team “feels like a fairy tale.”

“It’s been a crazy 10 months,” said Jinnies. “Dancing hard and really engaging with our community and our team and supporting our players. I can’t believe that we made it to this point, so I’m pretty sure it’s showing off that we’ve been working pretty hard.”

When asked what surprised them the most about their first season, “How crazy our fans are,” said Peron. “We have the best fans ever!”

Leibert gushed about how easily the guys integrated into the squad, saying, “Having these two on the team has been really incredible, and to work community events with them to see the way they’ve been embraced by our fans is pretty unbelievable.”

“They’re extraordinary in that they are trailblazers but they are also totally normal teammates,” she added. “They fit right in.”

The guys share that they’ve heard from men across the country “who are so excited to try out!” And not just adults but younger guys who plan to try out for their junior high and high school cheer teams.

Peron and Jinnies are clearly feeling high on life right now, and they should be.

The Super Bowl featuring the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots airs on CBS, February 3 at 3:30pm EST.

Watch the GMA appearance below.

Aaron Hernandez’ Gay Lover Comes Forward: “We Didn’t Want People To Know”

Aaron Hernandez (image via Wikimedia Commons/Jeffrey Beall)

In April of 2017, former NFL player Aaron Hernandez committed suicide while incarcerated at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts.

The 27-year-old was serving time after having been found guilty of the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.

In the aftermath of his death, scores of news stories explored possible reasons why the former New England Patriots player would take his own life.

In march of this year, a documentary titled Aaron Hernandez Uncovered on Oxygen featured his former lawyer saying, “This man was clearly gay.”

Now, Hernandez’s boyhood friend, Dennis SanSoucie, has come forward claiming to be Hernandez’s on-again/off-again gay lover.

Speaking to the Boston Globe, SanSoucie says the relationship began in middle school and continued through high school.

During their time in high school, the two became a power duo on the football field with SanSoucie as quarterback and Hernandez as receiver.

In their junior year of high school, SanSoucie connected with Hernandez for 67 passes for a total of 1,807 yards, a Connecticut high school record.

But SanSoucie tells the Globe that there was a completely different, secret life the two led outside of football.

SanSoucie shares that they would get high on marijuana often – before school, before football practice and before games.

It was during this time the two began a physical relationship as well, keeping the secret between themselves.

“Me and him were very much into trying to hide what we were doing,” SanSoucie shares with the Globe. “We didn’t want people to know.”

SanSoucie says that growing up in the traditional, conservative community of Bristol, the idea of being openly gay would not have played well. SanSoucie was heading into the military after graduation and Hernandez was bound for football glory.

The Globe report also indicates that anything ‘gay’ would have been extremely difficult at home. Hernandez’s brother Jonathan shares that their dad had been “deeply homophobic.”

He recalls Aaron coming home one day and announcing he wanted to be a cheerleader. The dad shut that idea down quick, according to Jonathan.

‘Faggot’ was used all the time in our house,” says Jonathan. “All the time. Standing. Talking. Acting. Looking. It was the furthest thing my father wanted you to even look like in our household. This was not acceptable to him.”

The Globe also reports that both Jonathan Hernandez and George Leontire (Aaron Hernandez’s former lawyer) say that Aaron had hinted at having been the victim of sexual abuse as a child. But neither identify who that person would have been.

Now out and living in Las Vegas, SanSoucie says he believes Aaron would be proud of him for coming forward now.

“I really truly feel in my heart I got the thumbs-up from him,” he said.

(h/t Boston Globe)

Donald Trump Retweets His Followers Praising Him

Donald Trump spent some of his 'executive time' this morning retweeting praise from his followers.

Donald Trump spent some of his ‘executive time’ this morning retweeting praise from his followers.

One tweet he especially liked used a photo of the Trumpster wrapped in a flag proclaiming, “Thank God for Trump!”

He also took a swipe at the NFL as some players over the opening weekend of the new season took a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

Trump tweeted that viewership is down 13%, but he wasn’t quite accurate.

From Philly.com:

CBS had its best opening NFL single-header rating in three years, drawing an average overnight household rating of 10.6 on its slate of five regional single-header games. That’s up 23 percent compared to CBS’ slate of games in Week 1 last year.

FOX averaged an 8.9 overnight rating on its 1 p.m. regional games, up six percent compared to last year. In its 4 p.m. national window, which featured the Carolina Panthers defeating the Dallas Cowboys, Fox garnered a 15.7 overnight rating, up slightly from last year.

In fact, Panthers-Cowboys drew the second-highest overnight Week 1 ratings in that national window since 2014, and it’s the seventh-highest number since 2004, according to Sports Media Watch.

What Trump failed to include is that most other programming, including scripted television shows, have seen drops in their viewership as streaming services like Hulu and Netflix continue to garner more and more customers.

First Male NFL Cheerleader Makes His Debut With New Orleans Saints

Jesse Hernandez of the New Orleans Saintsations

This season will mark the first time in decades that men will be joining the ranks of NFL cheerleader squads.

First to make his debut was 25-year-old Jesse Hernandez who took to the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this past Friday for the New Orleans Saints preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

According to Nola.com, for many the historic moment came and went without fanfare although one woman interviewed in the stadium crowd offered her support saying, “If he can dance and perform, I don’t care.”

Another woman chimed in saying, “I think it’s awesome.”

Watch video of Hernandez’s debut below.

Also in the supportive category is Jesse’s mom, Tracey Hernandez, who drove hours to attend her son’s debut performance.

The New Orleans Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas profiled Jesse’s mother in an interview that underscored her total support for her son.

In the interview, she also admitted that Jesse had experienced bullying and harassment for a long time going back to when he became the first male to make his high school dance team in his hometown of Maurice, La. years ago.

“Those people just need to get over it,” Mama Hernandez said. “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.”

Some Facebook comments to the Advocate article confirmed her concerns.

From The New Orleans Advocate:

Based on the Facebook comments on Vargas’ story, Tracey Hernandez’s fears were realized. One he-man dismissed Jesse as a “gay bait prancing around like a fairy.” “That’s no man,” someone else said. Another ALL-CAPS guy said it was ‘THE NFL PUSHING THE PUSSYCRAT POLE SMOKING ETHICS,” whatever that means.

Other comments: “Homo.” “Pantywaist.” “Sick libturd bullshit.” “What male football fan wants some queer prancing around with the women?” “I’m surprised he hasn’t set off the fire alarms in the Superdome.”

None of that mattered to Hernandez, though, as he took to the field wearing black skinny jeans and a black/white t-shirt with a fleur de lis.

On a personal note, I should add that in my senior year of high school the cheerleading squad looked to add male cheerleaders, and of course, I tried out and got one of the four slots.

I loved cheering. It was fun to stand on a football field in front of sports fans yelling my head off, performing cheers and routines and getting a whole lot of teen tension worked out.

Along the way, the experience impacted my social life at school as I found myself spending lots of time with students I’d gone to school with for years but never got to know.

Many were totally open to the inclusion of men on the squad. However, one of the other GUYS was a total douche to me throughout the year. He’d call me “faggot” on the football field and took any chance he could to ridicule me.

Even though I didn’t really know who “I was” yet, it was those moments that helped me learn to cope with years of homophobia. And part of what I learned was – people learn to accept ‘new’ things far better than we think.

My years as a cheerleader (when I got to Syracuse University, I cheered for three years including being captain) taught me a lot about leadership and social interaction.

And then there’s the fact that I really enjoyed being in front of a crowd/audience 😉

Props to Jesse Hernandez and to LA Rams cheerleaders Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, who will make their debut shortly.

In the video below, Hernandez chats about why he decided to try out for the Saintsations prior to his being cast as a new “Saintsation.”

p.s. ok, just ONE pic from my cheerleader days at Syracuse University… 🙂

Trump Rants – Again – At NFL Players Peaceful Protest

Donald Trump

Donald Trump couldn’t resist ranting at NFL players who took a knee during a preseason game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

From HuffPost:

The Miami Dolphins’ Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both knelt during the anthem ahead of their preseason opener game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Miami Herald sports reporter Adam Beasely.

It was a show of solidarity with the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice, launched by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a ban on the kneeling protests in May, but plans to enforce it were put on hold after the NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the new policy.

Kaepernick applauded the Dolphins players for their protest of “systemic oppression.”

NFL Owners Vs. Military Veterans On New #TakeTheKnee Rule

(Colin Kaepernick – photo credit: Brook Ward)

This week, the NFL announced new rules regarding players “taking a knee” during the national anthem at NFL games.

The new options are: Stay in the locker room until after the anthem, or come out and stand – no taking a knee in peaceful protest. Those who do will be fined according to the NFL.

The practice was begun by quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality against African-Americans.

Donald Trump got involved and re-framed the issue saying the players are purposefully disrespecting the flag and anthem. He’s wrong.

Experts say the rule change is illegal because the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union. When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer — including a football league — can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union.

The folks at Buzzfeed put the owners’ statements alongside those of actual veterans who put their lives on the line for Americans to have the right to protest peacefully.

I’ll weigh in with this: this country was founded on the freedom to express ourselves in a peaceful manner. While some folks may buy Trump’s fake framing of the issue – that taking a knee is meant as a direct hit on our flag and anthem – the facts show it’s not the truth.

And, as you’ll see below, plenty of military veterans are open about the fact that they can love our flag AND support Americans exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest.

Watch below.

News Round-Up: May 25, 2018

Hot, handsome, woofy guy
(image via kenneth-in-the-212)

Some news items you might have missed:

• I don’t know who this guy is, but Kenneth-in-the-212 found him and I just had to look at him some more… 😉

• Even with the recent announcement that the NFL will fine players who take a knee during the national anthem, New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson says he’ll pay any fine levied against his players.

• Out country artist Ty Herndon talks about the upcoming Concert for Love & Acceptance.

• LGBTQ people are leaving hostile countries in Asia for the more accepting lands of New Zealand.

• George Takei says he bears no ill will towards his accuser who has now walked back his accusation that Takei sexually assaulted him almost 40 years ago.

• Here’s the setup: On the UK series Celebrity Juice, TV personality Mark Wright and comedian Joel Dommett complete an obstacle course while passing a banana between their mouths because…?

Who cares?

News Round-Up: May 23, 2018

blake.jpg
Blake McGrath

Some news items you might have missed:

• Canadian dancer and choreographer Blake McGrath looking chill in Miami Beach (above). Check out his Instagram for videos of his ah-mahz-ing choreography.

• Netflix’s series 13 Reasons Why has come under fire for a controversial, graphic male rape scene.

• A Boy Scout and his dad were kicked out of a hardware store because the store employee doesn’t “support homos.”

• One of the gay men Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to in 2015, David Ermold, lost his bid to challenge Davis for her office.

• A federal judge in Virginia has sided with transgender student Gavin Grimm over the rights of trans students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

• The NFL has announced a new policy that will fine teams an undetermined amount if players on the field fail to stand during the national anthem played before the start of the game. Players who wish to protest will be allowed to remain in the locker room.

• Check out Jess Glynne’s new single, “I’ll Be There.” Glynne is the first-ever British female to earn six #1 UK singles. I’ve previously featured her collaboration “Real Love” with Clean Bandit on The Randy Report. Hit play below.

Podcast: ACLU Sues Ohio Over Trans Birth Certificates; “Roseanne” Reboot Gives LGBTs Pause; NFL Gets 1st Male Cheerleaders

In this week’s podcast:

• The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio for the state’s policy that bars transgender people from changing their birth certificates.

• There will be NO questions about LGBTs in the 2020 Census

• “Roseanne” returned to TV this week but folks are conflicted about watching

• The NFL will have its first male cheerleaders in the upcoming season

• “Queer Eye” reboot has been renewed for a 2nd season

• Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. I explain why we observe the day each year.

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

Breaking Barriers: Two Men Become 1st NFL Cheerleaders

For the first time in NFL history, two men will become cheerleaders for an NFL team.

Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron will be part of the L.A. Rams cheerleaders squad for the 2018/2019 season.

All smiles on Good Morning America, Peron was asked what motivated him to try out: “I thought, ‘Why not me? Why can’t I do this?’ And called my friend and I asked her when auditions were for the Rams and she told me Sunday [March 11] and I showed up.”

Appearing with the men, LA Rams cheerleader captain Emily Leibert extolled the men’s qualifications:

“They really just fit the bill to be a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader. They are intelligent, they are eloquent, they are more than qualified to be ambassadors out in the community. They bring so much energy and there’s something so magnetic about their performance, you really can’t take your eyes off them.”

Full disclosure – in my senior year of high school, the cheerleading coach decided to add 4 guys to what had been an all-girl squad for decades. Just like Quinton, I thought “I want to do that!”

And I did. And had a ball.

When I got to Syracuse University, by a fluke, I happened to be in the university gym when the cheering squad was practicing and I stopped to watch. Eventually, I walked over to say ‘hi,’ and found out they had just lost a male team member. And, in a rarity for a freshman, I got the spot.

I cheered three years for the Orangemen and was captain of the squad my last year. It was thrilling to be on the grounds of the Carrier Dome cheering during football and basketball games.

If you’re a high energy guy in your college years, it’s a great way to burn some of that off. I loved it.

You can check out their amazing dancing at the tryouts and see the moments they discovered they made the cut: