Kevin Maxen came out as gay in an exclusive interview with Outsports. He becomes the first male coach in US men’s pro sports to come out publicly.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore. I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing, or why I am living with someone else. I want to be vocal in support of people living how they want to live, but I also want to just live and not feel fear about how people will react.”
He also revealed that he has been in a two-and-a-half-year relationship with his boyfriend Nick. He said he found the courage to come out from the support of his family and friends.
“It wasn’t until recently – and with the immense love and support of my family, my friends, colleagues and peers, and the courage and sacrifice from my partner – that I realized I have the right and responsibility to love and be loved, and that maybe sharing this will hopefully give someone else the strength to accept their own life and take control of their own story.”
Maxen joined the Jacksonville Jaguars last year as an associate strength coach. The entire coaching staff, including Maxen, played a role in the team making it to the playoffs after back-to-back seasons of being the worst team in the league.
Kevin Maxen interned with the Army and the University of Iowa before taking his first coaching experience in college football. Before joining the Jaguars, he was a strength coach with Vanderbilt and Baylor.
Kevin Maxen excelled in football before embarking on a successful coaching career
Before he became a coach, he was a successful football player for the Western Connecticut State University. As a standout linebacker, he led the team in tackles for two seasons and finished his career with 171 total tackles. During the three seasons and 30 games that he played, he also became a team captain.
His decision to come out publicly furthers his status as a trailblazer in the field of sports. As a Jewish black man, he has always stood out among the crowd.
“As a Black Jew who has dated both men and women, who has been a strength coach at the highest level of professional football, I’ve learned that how I look, what I believe in, and especially who I am physically or emotionally attracted to should not impact the way I or other people view my worth. And It should certainly not dictate what I feel I am capable of accomplishing.”
He said he was spurred on to come clean about what he felt after attending Jacksonville Jaguars events where other members introduced their family or partners and he could not. Based on the reaction from the team, he need not have worried about coming out sooner, as owner Shad Khan said to ESPN:
“Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through, and a key member of our football team and community. I look forward to seeing Kevin next week at training camp, and hope that he comes to work each day during camp and through the season feeling confident, free and at peace.”
Kevin Maxen was also helped by Carl Nassib, who made history as the first openly gay active NFL player. He now joins the ranks of other coaches like Katie Sowers with the San Francisco 49ers and Curt Miller of the WNBA. But as a male in men’s pro sports, he has made history. One hopes others will see his example and find the strength to live their truths.
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