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Meet The NFL's First Ever Gay Cheer Captains Jose Capetillo & Brendan Ryan

Meet The NFL's First Gay Cheer Captains Jose Capetillo & Brendan Ryan

Jose Capetillo and Brendan Ryan sitting on a mountain together.
@josecapetillo/Instagram

“Knowing that our teammates voted for us to be in this position is a really special feeling," Jose Capetillo revealed.

Things are changing for the better in the NFL.

Carl Nassib made headlines in 2021 by becoming the only active player to ever come out in the NFL, last month Jaguars’ coach Kevin Maxen became the first male coach to publicly come out, and now we find out there are out gay NFL cheerleaders too!

After three seasons on the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading team Jose Capetillo and Brendan Ryan are now cheer captains, making them the first out gay men to ever lead an NFL cheerleading team.

In an interview Ryan told Queerty that becoming the first out gay captain felt “surreal.” Capetillo chimed in saying, “Knowing that our teammates voted for us to be in this position is a really special feeling. It makes us feel super supported.”

This is quite the accomplishment, but these two are used to breaking down barriers. During their rookie season the Rams made it all the way to Super Bowl LIII and Capetillo and Ryan were there to cheer them on alongside three other out gay cheerleaders. This marked the first time an NFL team had five out gay cheerleaders performing at a Super Bowl.

But the pair aren’t just on the same team, they also live together and have bonded over the new experiences they’ve gotten to have because of their positions on the team.

Prior to joining the Rams, Ryan had never been to a Pride, but this year the cheerleading team got the opportunity to perform in West Hollywood Pride.

“Growing up back in Michigan, I had never been to a Pride before,” he said. “So my first Pride was one that I performed at. It felt so special to be embraced by the people of Los Angeles in our very own community.”

Being captains of the team isn’t all fun and games though, not only do the athletes have to spend a lot of time working out, but the performances can also be grueling.

“Dancing on the field for four hours straight and trying to rile up a crowd and keep the vibes and energy just as high, it is a tough job,” Capetillo said. “It is physically tough, you have to be mentally tough sometimes, too.”

We can’t wait to watch them perform when the new NFL season starts next month!

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.