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Jacksonville Jaguars' Kevin Maxen comes out as the first openly gay American male pro sports coach

Jacksonville Jaguars' Kevin Maxen comes out as the first openly gay American male pro sports coach

Maxen doesn't want to feel like he has to 'lie' about who he is

Jacksonville Jaguars' strength coach Kevin Maxen has made history as he becomes the first male coach in major US professional sports to announce he is gay.

Maxen, who has been working with the offensive and defensive linemen for the Jaguars since the 2021 season, announced his decision to live openly with his boyfriend as he explained he doesn't want to 'feel like [he has] to think about it anymore'.

His decision comes after a number of NFL players decided to come out, including defensive lineman Michael Sam, and Carl Nassib, who played for Tampa Bay last season. A couple of female assistant coaches in the NFL are also openly LGBTQ+.

Kevin Maxen said he doesn't want to lie about who he lives with.

Before announcing his sexuality to the world, Maxen spoke to Nassib for advice and learned of the website Outsports, which covers LGBTQ+ issues and personalities in sport.

The coach then shared his announcement through the site, saying: "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 has been questioning his sexuality since he was in college at Western Connecticut State University, where he played as a standout linebacker in all 30 games of his three years there.

He has now been dating his boyfriend, Nick, for more than two years, but it wasn't until the last year or so that he felt more prepared to share their relationship with the world.

Kevin Maxen said he didn't want to 'live in the image of anyone else'.

He explained: “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.

“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,” Maxen continued.

“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.”

Maxen expressed hopes the Jaguars would have a positive reaction to his news, and the responses he's received so far have fulfilled those hopes.

Kevin Maxen has received support from his team.

Marcus Pollard, Jaguars Director of Player Development, commented: “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."

According to ESPN, the owner of the team, Shad Khan, said: “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.”

After everything he's been through, Maxen concluded: “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.”

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@kmax3824

Topics: LGBTQ, NFL, Sport, US News, Football