Jesse Hernandez made history and made his mom proud Friday night when he became the first male cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints’ Saintsations, becoming one of three male cheerleaders in the NFL. He also brought out the ugly side of some people.

After the New Orleans Advocate profiled Hernandez’s debut, the story’s comments section was filled with many disgusting homophobic comments. What’s most disturbing was that the comments were on Facebook, which means people were perfectly fine linking these bigoted views to their names to write things like:

  • “I do not feel ‘threatened’ by an obvious homosexual dancing at NFL games. I feel repulsed & disgusted. I watch NFL games to be entertained, not to be held captive to the latest ‘advance’ in the homosexual ‘rights’ movement.”
  • “The death throes of the NFL. Promoting femininity and degrading anything masculine. Just imagine this male ballerina protecting the country.”
  • “Come for the National Anthem disrespect, stay for the gay dancers.”
  • “Its a sign of moral decay.”
  • “The New Orleans Saints just slapped every Muslim and Bible believing Christian in the face.”
  • “Buncha queers flouncing around like bitches. Sad AF.”
  • “How gay can the NFL get?”
  • “What male football fan wants some queer prancing around with the women?

It is amazing how threatened some insecure men (and they’re all men) are made by one male NFL cheerleader, even though men have been on cheer squads in college football for years. To be clear, many people also supported Hernandez, but there were way too many haters to be ignored.

Hernandez was thrilled by his debut, posting on Instagram:

The saints didn’t win but i sure did! … i can’t thank these amazing people for making my first gameday a success! The love and support from all makes my heart so happy!

Tracey Hernandez, Jesse’s mom, had a great response to those who mocked her son:

“Those people just need to get over it,” said Hernandez, who attended Friday’s game with three family friends, one of whom had an oversized, cutout picture of her son’s face.

“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.”

Jesse Hernandez, 25, has been dancing since he was 2 and has taught dancing for high school and college dance teams and a minor league hockey team. He said he was inspired to try out for the Saints after seeing that the Los Angeles Rams hired two male cheerleaders this year, Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron.

Being taunted for being a dancer is nothing new to Hernandez, his mom said, so he clearly has a thick skin and a determination to succeed.

In contrast to the coverage Hernandez received, the debut Saturday of Jinnies and Peron for the Rams went pretty much unnoticed, though both men posted about their achievement on Instagram.

This really happened! 💙💙🙌🏾🙌🏾 ( 📷 #laramscheer

A post shared by Quinton Peron (@itsaquintonthing) on

No words, all smiles. ♡ 📸

A post shared by Napoleon Jinnies (@napoleonjinnies) on

Hernandez, Peron and Jinnies are the first male cheerleaders in the NFL, performing the same moves as their female counterparts. As Cyd noted earlier this year in writing about NFL male cheerleaders, “the Baltimore Ravens added essentially stuntmen a couple years ago. And back in the early 2000s the Tennessee Titans had male yell leaders for a nanosecond.”

Back to Hernandez, Kevin Allman, writing in the New Orleans Advocate, had a great take that I will end on:

For those obsessed with the nature of what a “man” is, or should be, I’d submit that someone willing to put up with this level of ignorance to achieve his goals — to become the first boy on his small-town high school dance team, and the first man to become a Saintsation — has more guts and, yes, balls than some hateful jackass with a Facebook account.

And I’d bet that not one of you loudmouth keyboard jockeys could pull off the moves that an athlete like Jesse Hernandez executed so skillfully last night.