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The veteran journalist shared his new byline and announced his transition ahead of receiving a major sports journalist award.
M.A. Voepel came out as transgender in a tweet on Tuesday, August 9. The veteran journalist, who formerly went by his birth name Mechelle, shared the news in a tweet thread, announcing that he would be using he/him pronouns and that his byline would be changing to his initials. Additionally, he shared the new names that he would be responding to, including Voepel, MV, Michael, and Mike. “In sports media, we’re lucky to tell stories of others’ journeys. We have our own, too. Part of mine is being transgender, and I’m transitioning to male,” he tweeted. Find out more about M.A. Voepel here!
I have the great honor of receiving Gowdy Award next month from Naismith Hall of Fame, and wanted to do that as authentic self, hence this announcement now. Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career …
— M.A. Voepel (@MAVoepel) August 9, 2022
MV announced his transition in light of the exciting news that he’d be receiving the Curt Gowdy Award for print media as part of the Naismith’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2022 class. “I have the great honor of receiving Gowdy Award next month from Naismith Hall of Fame, and wanted to do that as authentic self,” he wrote.
I may look and sound a little different.😊Glad to be who I’ve always been inside. Dedication to covering women’s sports, a lifelong joy as well as job, and admiration for all involved – players, coaches, execs, fans, referees, colleagues – that stays exactly the same. Thanks!❤️
— M.A. Voepel (@MAVoepel) August 9, 2022
As he announced his transition, Michael shared how important it is to be true to yourself, while thanking ESPN for being supportive of his decision. “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,” he said. “I may look and sound a little different. Glad to be who I’ve always been inside.”
MV has been a staple of ESPN’s digital journalism for decades. He started his career with the website in the mid-90s, and he was brought on to cover both the WNBA and women’s college basketball. He’s been dedicated to covering the Women’s Final Four for over 20 years. As he announced his transition, he swore that his love for the game wouldn’t change. “Dedication to covering women’s sports, a lifelong joy as well as job, and admiration for all involved – players, coaches, execs, fans, referees, colleagues – that stays exactly the same,” he wrote.
While he’s been at ESPN for 26 years, Mike’s career as a sports writer began over a decade before, when he covered his first game in 1984. His first job was writing about the University of Missouri team in 1984, when he was student there, before graduating in 1987. In that time, MV has become one of the most respected names in women’s sports journalism. “Voepel is considered an authority on the women’s game, both collegiate and professional,” the NBA wrote in the announcement that he’d be receiving the Gowdy award.
While he’s primarily a writer, Michael has been featured as a talking head in a few specials about women’s sports. He appeared in the ESPN 30 For 30 about the 1996 Women’s USA basketball team in the Olympics. He also appeared in the 2022 TV special Giant Killers about the Lady Longhorns softball team, per IMDb.
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While he’s primarily covered women’s sports, Mike is clearly an all-around fan of so many different teams. Despite being born in Los Angeles, it was shared that he grew up outside of St. Louis, and that he’s a massive Cardinals fan, in his announcement for the Gordy award. It also said he was still beaming with excitement over the team’s 2011 World Series title, over a decade later.
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M.A. Voepel: 5 Things To Know About ESPN Journalist Who Just Came Out As Transgender – HollywoodLife