WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Some firefighters in New Jersey have been caught in a firestorm of controversy over a Breast Cancer Awareness campaign T-shirt.
The North Hudson regional firefighters purchased pink T-shirts they intended to wear to participate in this month’s national Pink for a Cure campaign and sell hoping to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon with Tim Colacci
According to Tim Colacci, the vice president of the North Hudson Firefighters Association, the pink shirts were a hit with the public.
“People that were walking past the firehouse while the men were doing their check of the fire truck outside [said], ‘Oh, you know, that’s great you guys are doing that. Is there anywhere we can buy them?’” Colacci said.
Their bosses, however, said if the firefighters wore the pink T-shirts in public while on duty and walked off firehouse grounds, they’d be disciplined.
“It’s a little disappointing to the members,” Colacci said. “Quite a few of our members have had to deal with breast cancer in the family.”
North Hudson Firefighters can only wear pink shirts as undergarments. The President of the North Hudson Firefighters Association said the restriction would defeat their purpose.
“The whole concept is visibility and if we’re mandated that we have to wear a shirt over the pink t-shirt, it kind of defeats the whole awareness concept for October for cancer,” Dominick Marino told CBS 2′s Vanessa Murdock.
The department’s director told the Jersey Journal the firefighters can’t alter the uniform and must maintain a professional image.
“You’re watching TV and you see all the NFL players wearing pink; I don’t think they look unprofessional,” Collaci said. “I think they’re doing a great job; they’re doing their part for commitment.”
Colacci claims the pink T-shirts had only a slight variation from their regulation blue T-shirts.
“It has the basic Maltese cross on the front and in the back it says North Hudson FD,” Colacci said. “That is an existing shirt that was blue with white lettering. All we did was change the blue to pink. We were under the impression it was approved.”
Despite the controversy, Colacci said he’s glad they have been able to raise about $2,500 for the cause.
Do you think the firefighters should be allowed to wear the shirts in public? Let us know below…