Kevin Maxen attends a "A Night of Pride" with GLAAD and the NFL presented by Smirnoff at Caesars Palace on February 07, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant Coach Kevin Maxen Shares His Coming Out Story

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Last year, Kevin Maxen, assistant strength and conditioning coach for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, came out and changed his life.

Yet in aessat in Men's Health, Maxen shared that coming out as the first openly gay male coach in any of the major US professional sports was about changing other lives, too.

According to Maxen, he started to have questions about his sexuality around 12 or 13.

"I was very reserved and quiet growing up, so I never really thought about dating," he wrote. Yet as he started to get older and grow as a coach, it dawned on him that he was different.

"It's kind of a funny story, but I was on a flight from back home in Connecticut to Waco and I watched 'Love, Simon' on the airplane," he wrote. "Growing up as a Black Jew who was a closeted gay, there weren't a lot of role models for me, but I saw myself in the character Blue in 'Love, Simon.' It was an emotional thing–it helped me recognize it as normal, recognize that this could be me."

And it could be others, too.

"I told one of my best friends from back home right after watching 'Love, Simon.' But then I was coaching at Vanderbilt in 2020, and I met my boyfriend, Nick," said Maxen. "When I met him, I knew I had to come out. I had always suspected I would meet the right person and that would be the reason I would come out. I knew that this was someone I wanted to have not only in my life, but to have around the people I love as well."

After coming out to his mother, Maxen's family began to embrace his truth. He also received support from his NFL family.

"When I wanted to come out more publicly, I was connected to a lot of people who were willing to help. I met with Carl Nassib, with Cyd [Zeigler] from Outsports," writes Maxen. "Carl was real with me and treated me as a friend from the start, and he helped reassure me that there was no right way to come out or be visible."

He added, "What I really appreciated was that both Carl and Cyd were always 100 percent honest with me. They helped me figure out when I was ready to come out in a public way."

And now the rest is Pride history.

Read Maxen's full essay over at Men's Health.

by Emell Adolphus

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