Veteran ESPN journalist M.A. Voepel has come out as transgender.
Voepel, who has covered women’s college and pro basketball for ESPN since 1996, shared the news Tuesday on Twitter.
“In sports media, we’re lucky to tell stories of others’ journeys,” he wrote. “We have our own, too. Part of mine is being transgender, and I’m transitioning to male.”
He said his byline would now be M.A. Voepel and his pronouns he/him, but people could “feel free to call me Voepel, MV, Michael, Mike; I’m good with them all.”
Next month, Voepel will receive the Basketball Hall of Fame’s prestigious Curt Gowdy Media Award, which celebrates members of the press for outstanding contributions to basketball.
He said he chose to make the announcement now so he could receive the honor as his authentic self.
“Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career,” he said. “At some point, you realize you need to have faith that your happiness/well-being is worth pursuing, and also have faith in other people’s kindness and grace. Grateful for a company that supports all of its employees, for terrific family and friends, and for societal progress.”
ESPN has updated Voepel’s profile on its website to reflect his new name and pronouns. The outlet has described Voepel as “the foremost authority on women’s basketball in both the collegiate and professional ranks.”
Voepel told followers he may look and sound a little different, but he was “glad to be who I’ve always been on the inside” and would continue his dedication to covering women’s sports.
The WNBA was among the well-wishers in the comments.
“Congrats MV sending all of our best,” the women’s basketball league tweeted.
Voepel has been covering women’s basketball since 1984 and graduated from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree in 1987. He has also worked as a writer and editor at newspapers in Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri, and in Newport News, Virginia.