Kevin Maxen, the assistant strength coach for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, has come out of the closet — and he hopes others in the league will also be inspired to openly live their truth.
Maxen came out publicly on Thursday as part of an interview with Outsports. The outlet reported that Maxen is the first out, male coach in a men’s U.S.-based professional sports league.
The assistant coach said he’s been dating his boyfriend Nick for two years now. Maxen said he no longer feels comfortable hiding his sexuality, or his boyfriend.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing or why I am living with someone else,” Maxen told Outsports. “I want to be vocal in support of people living in how they want to live, but I also just want to live and not feel fear about how people will react.”
Maxen claimed to have contacted NFL player Carl Nassib, who is openly gay, in 2022. He said he wanted to discuss his own coming out with Nassib and plan a route for “building acceptance of LGBTQ people in major American sports.”
In 2021, Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. At the time, he played with the Las Vegas Raiders.
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Maxen now hopes to take his boyfriend Nick to Jaguars events where other team members and coaches often bring their significant others.
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“I want the person I’m with to be able to share that with me,” he said.
Maxen is “hopeful” the Jaguar team, coaches and industry professionals will accept him as he is.
Already, a number of his colleagues, including Jaguars Director of Player Development Marcus Pollard, have outwardly supported Maxen. Pollard said it is a “privilege” to work with Maxen “in an environment that is diversifying.”
Still, Maxen said he is no stranger to discrimination — but he refuses to let it stop him.
“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,” Maxen said. “And It should certainly not dictate what I feel I am capable of accomplishing.”
Before Maxen, a handful of female assistant coaches in the NFL had already come out publicly, including San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers.
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