Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Maxen is the first American male coach to come out as openly gay, Outsports reported.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore. Maxen said. I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing or why I am living with someone else.”
Shad Khan, the Jacksonville Jaguars owner, fully supports Maxen’s choice and has even backed city ordinances broadening protections for those in the LGBTQ+ community in Jacksonville, Florida. Marcus Pollard, a former NFL tight end and the current director of player development for the Jaguars, said, “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.”
Maxen has the full backing of his organization from the top down, and ex-Jaguars center Brandon Linder shared how much it meant to him that Maxen chose him to come out to:
“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. Kevin, I’m proud to call you a friend and excited to see what the future holds for you, Kev. I know your story can help so many people. You the man! All shall be well!”
Although the NFL’s lack of racial diversity has been well documented in the past, players seem progressive about accepting players’ and coaches’ sexual orientation. Perhaps this will, as Linder alludes to, lead to more NFL players or coaches feeling like they can be their full selves around their co-workers.
Maxen appears ready to face the world as he contextualizes his racial and ethnic background to his sexuality, telling Outsports: “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.”
Maxen was once ashamed because he felt he could not talk about his dating life or his partner openly, but now he has freed himself from that perception and looks forward to building the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in major American sports.
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Source: Black Enterprise