Mike Rowe: Nike Should’ve Honored 9/11 Heroes on Flight 93

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File/ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Just ahead of the anniversary of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe noted that the heroes we saw that terrible day are more worthy of praise than former NFL player Colin Kaepernick ever could be.

Rowe’s comments come days after sportswear giant Nike released its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring Kaepernick, the inventor of the national anthem protests at NFL games.

Kaepernick’s ad also touts the slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Mike Rowe was not impressed by the Kaepernick ad campaign or the “sacrifices” Kaepernick has supposedly made.

Rowe dismissed the praise of Kaepernick, arguing in a Facebook post that if Nike wanted to “put someone’s face on a billboard – someone who epitomized bravery and sacrifice,” it should’ve chosen Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett.

“Nike’s free to celebrate whomever they wish, and Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion–kneeling, standing, or lying down,” the 56-year-old television host explained on his Facebook Monday. “But if I was going to put someone’s face on a billboard – someone who epitomized bravery and sacrifice – I might have gone another way, especially this time of year. I might have gone with this guy – Tom Burnett.”

Rowe continued, “Tom’s last act on earth was one of the most courageous things imaginable. And his last words to his wife, Deena, are among the most inspiring I’ve ever heard. Those exact words are at the top of this page, and the bottom. They were spoken 17 years ago, under conditions I hope to never experience. I’ll never forget Tom’s last words. I hope you won’t either.”

Mike Rowe spoke of the phone call between Burnett and his wife that was later released publicly. As we all learned, the 9/11 hero called his wife to say goodbye as the terrorists took over his flight. The passengers eventually overtook the terrorists and the plane careened into a field in Pennsylvania to prevent it from being used as another flying bomb.

Here is the most affecting part of Burnett’s phone call:

Tom: We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane.
Deena: No! Sit down, be still, be quiet, and don’t draw attention to yourself! (The exact words taught to me by Delta Airlines Flight Attendant Training).
Tom: Deena! If they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have do something!
Deena: What about the authorities?
Tom: We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway.
It’s up to us. I think we can do it.
Deena: What do you want me to do?
Tom: Pray, Deena, just pray.

(after a long pause)

Deena: I love you.
Tom: Don’t worry, we’re going to do something…

Rowe thinks America should raise up our Tom Burnetts instead of our Colin Kaepernicks. And on this day of remembrance, he is certainly right.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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