Hero pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, America's most popular man, was all set to make his big national television debut on the Today show this morning. Then he pulled out. Stop restraining our Sully!:

Sullenberger had been scheduled to give his first public interview on Monday morning to NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer, but the appearance was canceled Sunday at the request of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association.

"The Sullenbergers continue to thank their many well-wishers for the incredible outpouring of support," the family said in a statement.

The mayor of his hometown, Danville, Calif., said the pilot and his family were attending President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday.

Okay now look. Sully is obviously a very modest and retiring man. Nobody can accuse him of publicity whoring. So what exactly is the freakin US Airline Pilots Association's problem here? Apparently they don't want him to talk because the investigation is still ongoing, and sure, that's a decent rule for normal situations involving normal, less heroic pilots. But America demands its heartwarming hero worship of Sully, complete with dramatic video montages, a Matt Lauer interview, and hastily printed biographies! These "pilot" friends of yours are harming your brand, Sully.

(Or maybe he asked them to ask him to pull out because he is the last noble non-slave to the media in America. In which case we salute you, sir.) [Newsday]