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Longtime ESPN reporter shares transgender identity

M.A. Voepel discussed his identity on Twitter, saying he wanted to be able to accept an upcoming award as his "authentic self."
Credit: AP
FILE - This Sept. 16, 2013, file photo shows the ESPN logo prior to an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Cincinnati. ESPN is reminding employees of the network's policy to avoid talking about politics after radio talk show host Dan Le Batard criticized President Donald Trump and his recent racist comments and ESPN itself on the air this week. (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Longtime ESPN reporter M.A. Voepel shared Tuesday that he is transgender. 

Voepel shared his trans identity in a series of tweets on Tuesday and explained what his byline on stories would be going forward.

"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. Byline now M.A. Voepel, pronouns he/him. Please feel free to call me Voepel, MV, Michael, Mike; I’m good with them all," he wrote.

Voepel has worked for ESPN since 1996 covering college and professional women's basketball. ESPN described him as "the foremost authority on women's basketball in both the collegiate and professional ranks" after he was named a Naismith Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy Media Award winner. The annual award is given to outstanding sports journalists covering basketball.

The award played a role in his decision to announce his transition now, Voepel said.

"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," Voepel continued on Twitter. "Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career. "

The announcement was met with congratulations and love on social media from colleagues and friends.

"Proud to be teammates with you, Voepel!" wrote fellow ESPN women's basketball reporter Alexa Philippou.

"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," Voepel added. 

"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."

Voepel graduated from the University of Missouri in 1987 and has attended 20 straight Women's Final Fours, according to ESPN.

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