Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, publicly revealed that he's gay Sunday, creating the possibility he'll be the first openly gay player drafted by the National Football League.
"I came to tell the world I'm an openly proud gay man," he said in an interview with ESPN.
He said he told his Missouri teammates in August and suffered no repercussions. He said he was surprised to discover many people in the media already knew he was gay.
"I understand how big this is," Sam said in the ESPN interview. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."
Sam also spoke about his sexual orientation Sunday to The New York Times, saying: "I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth."
Sam, at 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds, starred in college football last season. Besides being first team All-American, he was named the top defensive player in the Southeastern Conference, considered the nation's best league. Teammates named him the team's most valuable player.
With those credentials, he's expected to be picked in the NFL draft in May. The Bleacher Report mock draft projected him to go in the late rounds because "athletic limitations including a lack of flexibility and a lack of optimal size are concerning."
The NFL issued a statement on Twitter on Sunday: "We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."
However, the NFL has made headlines on the issue of sexual orientation in the past. Last year, a University of Colorado player said an NFL team asked him if he liked girls and had a girlfriend.
The NFL quickly said, "Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline."
Sam issued his own Tweet: "I want to thank everybody for their support and encouragement, especially @espn, @nytimes and @nfl. I am proud to tell my story to the world!"
Sam's announcement comes as the federal government expands its recognition of same-sex marriages. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will issue a memo Monday that extends the federal government's recognition of same-sex marriages, even in the 34 states that don't consider it legal.
Other athletes have come out as gay, but they didn't have Sam's profile.
GLAAD, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy group, said Sam is "the latest high-profile athlete to come out as LGBT. Others include the NBA's Jason Collins, the WNBA's Brittney Griner, WWE's Darren Young, UFC's Liz Carmouche, MMA's Fallon Fox and Major League Soccer's Robbie Rogers."
Of those athletes, Collins made the biggest media splash. He's not playing in the NBA this season.
Praise poured in for Sam, who overcame a rough childhood in which one of his brothers was killed and others ended up in prison.
Sam's head football coach at Missouri, Gary Pinkel, said: "We're really happy for Michael that he's made the decision to announce this, and we're proud of him and how he represents Mizzou. Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he's taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn't matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we're all on the same team and we all support each other."
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a prepared statement: "By rewriting the script for countless young athletes, Michael has demonstrated the leadership that, along with his impressive skills on the field, makes him a natural fit for the NFL. With acceptance of LGBT people rising across our coasts - in our schools, churches, and workplaces - it's clear that America is ready for an openly gay football star."
A journal discovered at Darion Marcus Aguilar's home may explain why the 19-year-old walked into a busy mall in Columbia, Maryland, on Saturday and killed two employees of a skateboard apparel shop before turning the shotgun on himself.
So far, law enforcement officials haven't determined a motive and aren't giving many details about the journal's contents. That's something people certainly will be talking about when the mall reopens for business at 1 p.m. ET Monday.
Police said Aguilar showed up at The Mall in Columbia in a taxi Saturday morning and stayed in a "generally confined area" before going to Zumiez, a shop that caters to skaters, on the second floor. There he fired six to nine shots, killing 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson before shooting himself.
Police are trying to find out more about Aguilar. CNN affiliate WBALreported he was a quiet, tall, skinny skateboard enthusiast who graduated last year from Blake High School in Silver Spring. He had no criminal record and purchased the shotgun legally, WBAL said.
Aguilar had a backpack that contained two homemade bombs, police said. Both were disabled.
Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon told reporters Sunday that in the journal, Aguilar "does express some general unhappiness with his life, but I really don't have any other information about that now."
But the journal had enough disturbing information to worry a Prince George's County police officer who saw it Saturday afternoon - before he knew Aguilar was the mall shooter, CNN affiliate WJLA said.
According to WJLA, the officer went to Aguilar's home in College Park to speak with his mother after a missing person report was filed. The officer read parts of the journal and was concerned for Aguilar's safety, the affiliate said.
The investigator traced his phone and discovered it was pinging at the Mall in Columbia, which had become a crime scene by that time, WJLA said. When the Prince George's officer delivered the information to the mall, Howard County police were able to identify Aguilar.
Aguilar also had a backpack that contained two homemade bombs, police said. Both were disabled.
McMahon said there was no known relationship between Aguilar and Benlolo, WBAL reported.
"I know there's a lot of interest in the motive for this, and I have as much interest in that as anybody," McMahon said Sunday.
McMahon identified Aguilar as the shooter Sunday.
Aguilar purchased the 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun in December, the chief said.
He added that police served a search-and-seizure warrant at the shooter's house and retrieved documents, computers and other potential evidence, including the journal.
On Saturday, a federal official briefed on the shooting told CNN that preliminary information suggested the gunman aimed only at the two victims, perhaps indicating it was an isolated situation and not a wider shooting spree.
Benlolo was an assistant manager at the store and had worked there since November 2012, according to her Facebook page.
Evelyn McDonald, her close friend, called the shooting shocking and a "complete tragedy."
"She was just full of energy. She was so nice and just an amazing artist and just an amazing person inside and out," McDonald told CNN.
Benlolo was the mother of a small boy.
"She loved her son. She loved being a mother," McDonald said.
Johnson had worked at the store for about three months, according to his Facebook page.
See more at CNN.com
It's time to bundle up in the sunny South.
A wave of arctic air that settled over the Midwest and the Plains is expected to spread into the Southeast late Monday, bringing a chance of snow to several major cities by Tuesday.
In normally balmy New Orleans, there's a 30% chance of rain and sleet Monday night, a 70% chance of freezing rain Tuesday and an 80% chance of wintery mix Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Atlanta will see the mercury drop into the low 20s Monday and Tuesday nights with a 30 to 40% chance of snow Tuesday. In Montgomery, Alabama, there's a 40% chance of snow Tuesday.
Call it weather whiplash: Dallas will experience a dramatic 30-to-40 degree temperature plunge, going from around 80 on Sunday to the high 30s on Monday, reported CNN affiliate WFAA. No precipitation is expected. In New Orleans, the temperature will drop from around 60 on Monday to 30 on Monday night.
People in Washington, D.C., probably won't see snow, but they'll feel the cold. Temps will drop to 7 degrees Monday night with the wind chill telling you it's even colder, as in 8 degrees below zero. Tuesday will warm up only a little.
"Welcome to my world," the Midwest and Great Plains will say.
Much of the northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast will likely shiver through daytime high temperatures 10 to 30 degrees below normal through Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
Chicago could see a high temperature of minus-5 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday and minus-3 on Tuesday, with wind chill values of around negative 30 degrees.
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle could be very dicey.
In Wisconsin, the state department of transportation is urging people to avoid driving if possible. If they must drive, they should carry a fully charged cell phone, have at least half a tank of gasoline and tell somebody where they're going.
In Milwaukee, two motorists seconded that advice.
"It's going to be pure ice. It's all fluffy and light snow like this and it's going to melt down — going to be a mess," Gary Lukowitz told CNN affiliate WITI.
"Even though you see the streets are plowed and it's still slippery out there — still a lot of wet snow on the ground, still freezing and cars are still slipping around," Adam Bernstein said.
In South Dakota, officials said white-out conditions with zero to near zero visibility, icy roads and blowing and drifting snow are making safe travel almost impossible along the I-29 corridor and throughout most of the northeast and eastern part of the state.
They have closed Interstate 29 from the I-90 junction at Sioux Falls to Brookings because of blizzard conditions. I-29 was also closed from the South Dakota border to Canada in North Dakota.
Authorities in Minnesota are advising no travel in the southern and western parts of the state, where several roads are closed.
Whiteout conditions could also be found in Hazleton, Iowa, said CNN iReporter Danny Murphy. He shot a video of the very white weather.
"Rural areas around here are suffering from near whiteout and blizzard conditions causing for very hazardous travel," he said.
The first lady of France, Valerie Trierweiler, has been hospitalized since Friday following allegations that President Francois Hollande has been having an affair with a French actress, a top member of Trierweiler's staff said.
Patrice Biancone, head of Trierweiler's Elysee office, told CNN, "She needed rest. We are hoping that she will leave the hospital at the beginning of this week."
He said that the first lady entered a hospital after allegations surfaced in the French tabloid Closer linking Hollande romantically to actress Julie Gayet.
"We all know why she went in after the story came out," said Biancone, clearly making the link between the revelations of the magazine and Trierweiler's hospitalization.
Trierweiler and Hollande are not married but live together, and she makes official state appearances. They met when she was a reporter for Paris Match magazine, a publication she still works for.
Hollande, 59, left his longtime common-law wife, Segolene Royal - the mother of his four children - for Trierweiler, 48, before the 2012 presidential election.
Closer reported Hollande had been slipping out of the back door of the Elysee Palace and hopping on a motor scooter driven by a bodyguard to Gayet's apartment. The magazine also reported the bodyguard brought croissants to the apartment one morning.
Hollande has not denied the affair but has threatened legal action.
Le Parisien first reported Trierweiler has been hospitalized since Thursday. The paper said the full story will appear in Monday's edition.