Jacksonville Jaguars assistant strength and conditioning coach Kevin Maxen has become the first male coach in the NFL or any of the four major American men's professional sports to publicly come out as gay.
Maxen told Cyd Zeigler of Outsports in an interview published on Thursday that he wanted to come out publicly to inspire others and to live openly without fear.
"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."
Female assistant coaches, notably former 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers, have come out in the NFL. Curt Miller is an out male coach in the WNBA, per Outsports. Maxen becomes the first male coach in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL to come out.
"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," Maxen told Zeigler.
Maxen has been dating his boyfriend, Nick, for over two years.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan praised Maxen's decision.
"Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through, and a key member of our football team and community," Khan said in a statement to 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."
Maxen joined the Jaguars in 2021. He previously was a strength coach at Baylor and Vanderbilt and worked as an intern at Iowa and Army.