OutKick podcast host Chad Withrow called Outsports and every other media outlet “homophobic” for sharing the courageous story of Jacksonville Jaguars strength coach Kevin Maxen coming out publicly in the NFL.

Outsports’ exclusive interview with Maxen was shared by countless media outlets, including ESPN, USA Today, CBS, NBC and others.

While it’s easy to dismiss this ridiculous notion broadcast by OutKick, it is a vocal minority we’ve seen share this on social media and beyond that should be addressed.

The absurd logic, straight from Withrow’s mouth, goes like this:

“To me it’s becoming more homophobic to make this thing a story,” he said in a convoluted segment of OutKick’s Hot Mic over the weekend. “Because I would say the gay community, trans community, whatever community you want to talk about, what we’ve heard and read for years is their fight is for equality and to be seen as equals.

“This is not equality. Hyping a story and putting it on the front page of any media site or newspaper or anything else, because of who someone decides they want to sleep with, and talking about that, should not be a headline in 2023 in the United States of America.”

So let’s get this straight.

Gay and bisexual men have for generations felt excluded from sports. They have been bullied in high school, the victims of homophobic language and told to stay in the closet or get out of sports entirely.

In the history of major men’s sports in North America, a total of four gay active athletes and one male coach have felt comfortable enough to come out publicly.

Yet the homophobia lies on the shoulders of Outsports and other media outlets who dare share the stories of the extremely rare out gay and bi men who find the courage — acting in the face of fear — to share their story with the world.

OutKick, it seems, is the true champion of LGBTQ equality in sports because their podcast hosts belittle sports coming-out stories.

By this logic, media outlets were racist for reporting that Art Shell was the first Black head coach in the NFL.

They were sexist to report that Becky Hammon was the first full-time female coach in the NBA.

If you mentioned Barack Obama was the first Black President of the United States? Racist.

Duh!

Not to be outdone, Withrow’s co-host, Jonathan Hutton, ignored the obvious nature of Maxen sharing his love for his boyfriend.

“Is it impacting the team or no?” Hutton asked. “That’s what fans of the league or that individual team care about. And in this case it’s not doing either. Because it’s off the field and it’s his own personal choosing of a way of life.”

Maxen came out to put this behind him, take a weight off his shoulders, be a more complete member of the Jaguars team, and be able to focus even more on helping the team win.

Team owner Shad Khan and player development executive Marcus Pollard agreed.

By Hutton’s logic? LGBTQ people can suck it up and stay in the closet so the people at OutKick don’t have to read about them.

Withrow also continually talked about Maxen’s “preference” for whom he “sleeps with.” This of course is designed to demean gay people and their relationships as simply animalistic and sexual in nature. Lost is the love and affection these people feel for one another.

Neither Maxen nor anyone else with the Jaguars talked about whom he “sleeps with,” but rather the person with whom he shares a life.

Withrow also demonstrated his utter lack of comprehension about the news media, including his own OutKick website that reported the news.

“It shouldn’t be a headline anywhere,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a top story anywhere.”

It’s nonsense from people like Winthrow that keep it a headline and top story. If every gay and bisexual person in the NFL felt totally comfortable coming out and being out, it wouldn’t be a story.

What’s news is what’s new. If gay and bi men in professional sports felt as comfortable to come out as so many women in women’s sports, a coach coming out in men’s pro sports wouldn’t be new and it wouldn’t be news.

Withrow did get one thing right. Gay people in sports want equality. We want equal opportunity to play and coach in the league, all the while refusing to hide whom we love.

I have for years talked about the welcome embrace gay people face when they are courageous enough come out in American sports today. It’s not yet perfect, with unfortunate language and awful takes from Winthrow and Hutton continuing to subconsciously tell LGBTQ people they need to keep their lives away from the sports world.

That is, it seems, how they want it.

“I do not care what the assistant strength coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who he prefers to sleep with,” Withrow said. “And no one else should either.”

Actually, a lot of people should care when anyone is courageous enough to come out publicly in men’s professional sports “in 2023 in the United States of America.” Because people like Winthrow, and places like OutKick, continue to demean our journey and send not-so-subtle messages to LGBTQ kids that they should hide who they are.

Outsports’ motto: “Courage Is Contagious.” When people like Maxen choose to live their lives out in the open for the public to see, others see the possibility in their own lives to freely live out and proud of who they are.

Withrow and Hutton speak for a small minority of people on this issue, but it’s a vocal minority we need to address. The vast majority of response to Maxen’s story has been inspiring, whether it’s been from the NFL or beyond.

That’s the way it should be.