Jacksonville Jaguars strength coach Kevin Maxen, his boyfriend Nick Garcia, and their dog. | Photo courtesy of Kevin Maxen

Kevin Maxen, the Jacksonville Jaguars strength coach who came out publicly in the NFL last summer, shared a beautiful message on the first day of Pride Month. It’s the first Pride season he can experience and share openly and honestly as his true self.

His perspective reflects the power of coming out. It also demonstrates the importance of Pride Month.

“Today I get to celebrate the start of my first Pride Month, as open and true to myself as I possibly could be,” Maxen wrote on Instagram. He shared the message with a photo of his boyfriend and their dog.

“With all the fear and concern regarding LGBTQ inclusion in sports, I was very worried about how I would be welcomed and viewed by my peers, but after publicly coming out before the start of training camp this past summer, the Jaguars proved to me that no matter what, who, or how you identify, you are supported, loved and valued.”

Maxen’s team — the Jaguars — was one of the first pro sports teams to share a pro-LGBTQ Pride Month message on June 1. That reflects the power of having an out LGBTQ person in the building.

The Jaguars were publicly supportive of Maxen when he came out, including team owner Shad Khan.

“Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through, and a key member of our football team and community,” Khan said at the time. “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.”

It’s doubtful the Jaguars would have been this on-top of Pride Month without an out coach.

The NFL shared on X the Jaguars’ Pride post, as well as one from the Chicago Bears.

Maxen came out last summer in an interview with Outsports. He was the first male coach in the NFL to come out publicly.

He had been considering making that move for over a year. He’d consulted with Carl Nassib, the gay former NFL player who came out publicly while he was with the Las Vegas Raiders. Nassib referred him to Outsports, who helped guide and encourage Maxen through his coming-out journey.

Since coming out, Maxen has focused on being the best NFL strength coach he possibly can be. He has also at times contributed his voice to the conversation about LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

“We have the power to do good in the face of injustice,” Maxen wrote in his Pride message on social media. “Hoping my story is one that people can relate to, in the same way I gained inspiration from the trailblazers before me. In the end, it’s not only about the progress we’ve made but also, the progress yet to come. And thanks to EVERYONE who has helped along the way.”

It’s no surprise that Maxen has been recognized by the LGBTQ community for his courageous coming out. He was the Outsports 2023 Person of the Year, and he’s been honored by Queerty as a nominee for a Queerties Award, as well as named to the Queerty Pride 50.

You can follow Jacksonville Jaguars coach Kevin Maxen on Instagram and on X.