The Jacksonville Jaguars’ assistant strength and conditioning coach, Kevin Maxen, has made history by becoming the first male coach in professional sports in the United States to publicly come out as gay in an exclusive interview with Outsports.com.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore,” Maxen told Outsports in the interview. “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.”
Maxen, who has worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars since the 2021 season, previously worked as a strength coach at Baylor and Vanderbilt as well as an intern at Iowa and Army, according to ESPN.
The owner of the Jaguars, Shad Khan released a statement in support of Maxen to ESPN on Thursday, calling Maxen “a key member of our football team and community.”
“Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through, and a key member of our football team and community,” Khan said in his statement. “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. I know our players and staff feel the same.”
Maxen told Outsports.com that he has been together with his partner Nick for approximately two-and-a-half years and that he came out because he wants to live his life openly without fear while hopefully inspiring others to do the same.
“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 told Outsports.com.
While others within the Jaguars organization would share stories of their families or introduce them to colleagues at team functions, Maxen said he initially felt the need to stay silent about his partner and not share details about his personal life.
“You have other coaches who have significant others, and they’re talking about their significant others,” Maxen said. “And I felt guilty that I couldn’t do the same thing, that I was letting myself down. For a while I had such an anger for myself and hatred that I thought was from a fear of what others might think about who I am. But that wasn’t it. It was an anger and hatred of myself because I put myself in a life where I was living by other people’s rules and not by my own. And I was right to be angry at myself for thinking that I had to live in the image of anyone else.”
Since coming out, Maxen has received an immense amount of support from within the Jaguars organization.
“In an environment that is diversifying, it is a privilege to work alongside Kevin who is hardworking, dedicated and thriving as a strength and conditioning coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said Marcus Pollard, Jaguars Director of Player Development.
Said Brandon Linder, a center for the Jaguars for eight seasons who worked with Maxen during his final year in the NFL: “Kevin was a big part in helping me prepare every Sunday during my last year in the NFL … He understands what life is truly all about. That’s why I gravitated towards him. It was truly an honor and extremely humbling when I was one of the first people Kevin confided to about his sexuality. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, not knowing what my reaction would be. I remember the day he told me I was so elated for him to get that off his chest.”
Source : ABC News