Mike Rowe, the popular star of the show “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” believes he knows someone better than Colin Kaepernick for Nike’s newest ad campaign.
“Nike’s free to celebrate whomever they wish, and Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion – kneeling, standing, or lying down,” Rowe wrote on 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, who often expresses conservative values without speaking directly about politics, wrote a touching tribute to Burnette, one of the passengers who helped down the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001 before it could be flown.
Rowe’s suggestion was in reference to Nike’s ad campaign that featured the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” and the face of Colin Kaepernick, the man some believe has been blackballed from the NFL for being the first player to kneel during the national anthem in protest of perceived racial injustice.
“Tom’s last act on earth was one of the most courageous things imaginable,” Rowe said. “And his last words to his wife, Deena, are among the most inspiring I’ve ever heard.
“They were spoken seventeen years ago, under conditions I hope to never experience. I’ll never forget Tom’s last words. I hope you won’t either.”
Rowe included the transcript of the last calls that Burnett made from the doomed plane to his wife, in which he told his wife his plane had been hijacked and his wife told Burnett that other planes had been used as terrorist weapons that day.
“We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane,” Burnett told his wife, Deena.
“No! Sit down, be still, be quiet, and don’t draw attention to yourself!” Deena replied.
“Deena, if they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have do something!” Burnett said.
After asking his wife to pray for him, Tom Burnett said his last words to Deena.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to do something,” he said.
Rowe’s post illustrates that Burnett did believe in something, and before he sacrificed everything for it, some of his last recorded words were almost Nike’s ad slogan.
Rowe’s Facebook post has solicited more than 18,000 comments on both sides of the political issue, but most support Rowe’s message of honor and remembrance for Burnett.
A woman named Roxanne had what could have been the most heartfelt reply to Rowe’s comments, and Burnett’s sacrifice.
“My son was working in the Hart Office Building near the US Capitol on 9/11. I believe that Tom and the other passengers on United Flight 93 saved his life,” she wrote. “To them and to their families we will be forever grateful. God Bless them all!”
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