Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN in 1996. On Tuesday, the veteran journalist announced a transition from female to male, along with a new name, M.A. Voepel.
“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,” Voepel tweeted. “Byline now M.A. Voepel, pronouns he/him. Please feel free to call me Voepel, MV, Michael, Mike; I’m good with them all.”
Voepel decided to come out as transgender prior to receiving The Curt Gowdy Media Award next month, an annual honor presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters. Having been one of ESPN’s premier journalists on women’s basketball at the college and professional level, Voepel will receive the print version of the Gowdy Award.
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
The announcement was met with a tremendous display of appreciation and support from Voepel’s colleagues and the entire sports world.
Voepel covered his first women’s basketball game at the University of Missouri in 1984, and graduated from there with a degree in journalism in 1987. His first job was in Jackson, Tenn., and he’s also worked as an editor and writer at newspapers in Columbia, Mo.; Newport News, Va.; and Kansas City, Mo.