- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2018

It was only a matter of time before one of Mike Rowe’s five million Facebook fans asked him about Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick commercials.

The former host of “Dirty Jobs” weighed in this week on the iconic shoe company’s foray into the NFL’s national anthem protests, but he did so with a nod to heroes of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“You’ve been very quiet about the Kaepernick PR disaster at Nike. Any thoughts?” asked a reader.

Shares of Nike Inc fell three percent last week after backlash from the company’s “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” campaign. Critics say that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who was originally benched for subpar play, should not be lauded as a hero.

Mr. Rowe, whose nonpartisan “everyman” approach to cultural issues have gained him a large following, didn’t hesitate to answer.

Nike’s free to celebrate whomever they wish, and Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion — kneeling, standing, or lying down,” the “Returning the Favor” host replied 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.”

Mr. Burnett was a victim of the doomed United Airlines Flight 93 that was hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists. Passengers who fought back prompted the terrorists to crash the aircraft into a Pennsylvania field instead of their intended target — the nation’s capital.

“Tom’s last act on earth was one of the most courageous things imaginable,” Mr. Rowe continued. “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.”

Those last words by Mr. Tom Burnett, spoken to his wife after saying that he loved her, were: “Don’t worry, we’re going to do something.”

Mr. Rowe then linked to the Tom Burnett Family Foundation, which seeks to strengthen civil society by helping young people learn leadership skills.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks killed 2,977 victims in New York, Pennsylvania and D.C.

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