(CNN) — Kevin Maxen has become the first male coach in a US men’s professional sports league to come out as gay.
In an interview with Outsports, the Jacksonville Jaguars associate strength coach said he no longer wanted to lie, as well as hoping to inspire others by publicly coming out.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore,” Maxen told Outsports. “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.”
The coach said he has been going out with his boyfriend Nick for over two years and wanted to be able to talk about his relationship publicly and share in conversations with fellow coaching staff.
“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.”
Per Outsports, as of September 2022, there have only ever been 16 players in NFL history to publicly come out as gay or bisexual. Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player in league history to announce that he is gay in 2021.
Maxen also touched on his journey before coming out and what he has learned along the way.
“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.”
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan released a statement to show his support for Maxen.
“Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through, and a key member of our football team and community,” Khan said in a statement per ESPN. “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.”
Per Outsports, Maxen is the “first publicly out male coach in a major American men’s pro sports league,” with WNBA coach Curt Miller, who publicly came out to the media as gay in 2015, also a publicly out male coach in an American professional sports league.
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