The Jacksonville Jaguars have fostered an environment in which players and coaches can be themselves. This might have led a role in Kevin Maxen, their associate strength coach, to come out publicly.
Maxen is the first male coach in American professional sports to come out publicly as gay and shared his reasoning in a recent sitdown with Cyd Ziegler of Outsports. He told Ziegler that he didn't want to feel like "I have to think about it anymore" and added that "I don't want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing, or why I am leaving 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 says that the support from his family, his partner, his family, and friends that he realized that he had "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".
He said later in the interview that he reached out to defensive end Carl Nassib, who came out publicly in 2021 and became the first active NFL player to do so, for advice and he connected him with Outsports. Owner Shad Khan and former Jaguars center Brandon Linder expressed support and praised Maxen for his decision.
Maxen joined the Jaguars in 2021 and previously worked as a strength and conditioning coach at Vanderbilt, Baylor, and Iowa.
Jaguars strength coach Kevin Maxen should be commended for his decision
You could argue that coming in out shouldn't be a big deal or that it's a non-news, and that's kind of right. People should be able to be themselves without the fear of repercussions and that's not always the case for the LGBT+ community, who sometimes face harrassed for no apparent reason. That's why Kevin Maxen publicly coming out is indeed important news.
It's not easy to make a decision like that but he had the courage to do it. By doing so, other players, coaches, or someone in their social circle might feel comfortable coming out.
There will be a time when coming out will become inconsequential and the LGBT+ community will no longer face threats. Until then, people like Maxen and others deserve praise for coming out publicly.