Public outcry over pink t-shirt ban
BRISTOL, Conn. (NBC) -- The mayor of Bristol is not backing down on his decision to ban firefighters from wearing pink breast cancer awareness t-shirts.
"It's a matter of issue of contract," Mayor Art Ward told reporters before Tuesday night's city council meeting. "They're contracted to wear uniforms in a workplace."
Firefighters wanted to wear the pink shirts each Thursday during October, to spread the word about breast cancer awareness month.
"Tonight, I must admit, it is an embarrassment to be known as a Bristol resident, Tracy Beland told the city council.
Beland made an impassioned plea. At one point she even asked the entire room to stand, if they knew someone who had been affected by cancer.
Mayor Ward said he is not against breast cancer awareness causes or charities.
Some have accused the mayor of playing politics with the firefighters union. Ward insists that is not true. He said it comes down to an issue of uniforms.
"To make these exceptions, there are so many causes, it would be impossible to grant every request," he said.
Firefighters have already sold 400 shirts as part of their fundraiser.
"The Bristol Firefighters would like to once again restate that Mayor Ward has chosen to politicize this sensitive issue," Sean Lennon, the firefighters union president, said. "Our absence from tonight's council meeting was because we feel this would be hypocritical to involve politics in this matter."
Those who live in Bristol hope common sense prevails.
"It should just be a breast cancer situation," Sandy Haultman said. "It shouldn't be politics at all."