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Jaguars' Kevin Maxen Becomes First NFL Coach To Come Out

Jaguars' Kevin Maxen Becomes First NFL Coach To Come Out

Kevin Maxen and boyfriend Nick
@kevmax3824/Instagram

“I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing, or why I am living with someone else,” the coach revealed.

Kevin Maxen, an associate strength coach with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, has joined the LGBTQ+ fam!

In an interview with Outsports yesterday, Maxen came out publicly for the first time because he’s tired of hiding who he truly is.

“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore,” Maxen told the publication. “I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing, or why I am living with someone else.”

The football coach continued, saying he doesn’t want to live in fear anymore, “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.”

By coming out and being his authentic self, Maxen has become the first-ever publicly out male coach in major American men’s pro sports. The fact that he is believed to be the first out LGBTQ+ coach in pro sports says a lot about the state of inclusivity and queer acceptance in the industry.

Maxen has been dating his boyfriend Nick for two years, but didn’t feel comfortable making that information public before now. “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.”

So far Maxen has received overwhelming support on social media and from people within the NFL. Jaguars owner Shad Khan, said in a statement to ESPN that Maxen “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. I know our players and staff feel the same,” Khan said.

Maxen revealed that he started questioning his sexuality while he was still in college where he was a linebacker for Western Connecticut State University. Now that he’s made his queer identity public, Maxen is hopeful that Jaguars players will react positively to the news. “I have a pretty good sense of humor,” he said. “So a lot of the guys I can joke with and not take anything personally.”

Last year, the coach reached out to Carl Nassib, who made history in 2021 by becoming an out gay player in the NFL and the only active player to ever come out. It was Nassib who connected the coach with Outsports as he was trying to find a path to coming out publicly.

The former college football player said that he felt compelled to come out when he saw how much of their personal life other people in the Jaguar organization shared.

“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. I want the person I’m with to be able to share that with me.”

Maxen also opened up about the lessons he’s learned from his life experiences. “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,” he revealed.

“And It should certainly not dictate what I feel I am capable of accomplishing.”

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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.