Zak Moradi pictured with the newly launched Leitrim hurling jersey.
Zak Moradi pictured with the newly launched Leitrim hurling jersey. 

Zak Moradi delighted by reaction to 'No to Racism' Leitrim jersey

By John Harrington

Zak Moradi is delighted by the positive response to the launch of a new Leitrim hurling jersey that has the slogan ‘No To Racism’ written on the front.

The jersey is a partnership with Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and Moradi himself was pivotal in making it happen.

It’s a project that’s close to Moradi’s heart because he’s a Kurdish migrant himself after moving to Ireland from Iraq in 2002.

“It has all worked out very well and has gotten great publicity over the last few days,” says Moradi, who won the Lory Meagher Cup with Leitrim in 2019.

“The reaction has been great. I've been getting loads of texts from people saying they want to get the jersey.

“It's a powerful message and it looks really well on the jersey, the jersey is gorgeous.

“We just wanted to raise awareness with the jersey, I wasn't expecting it to go viral to the extent that it has and to have the whole country talking about it.

“We're obviously the first county in Ireland to have a logo like 'No to Racism' on it and I think it's a great message to be putting out there.”

Westmeath footballer Boidu Sayeh (left) and Leitrim hurler Zak Moradi pictured in Croke Park.
Westmeath footballer Boidu Sayeh (left) and Leitrim hurler Zak Moradi pictured in Croke Park.

Moradi says the new Leitrim hurling jersey is a timely initiative because he believes racism and anti-social behaviour in general has been on the rise in Ireland in the last few years.

“I think a lot of the racism is just another form of bullying or anti-social behaviour which unfortunately we're seeing more of in this country and which needs to be sorted out,” he says.

“It's not just minorities that are being attacked and picked on, all sorts of kids and people are now being picked on and there's a lot of it going on around the country.

“You might be living in an area of 50,000 people, but all you need is 20 anti-social people to destroy the whole area. And if they feel they can get away with it, that's when you'll see racist behaviour increase because it's just another form of bullying or anti-social behaviour.

“It's only a small minority and I think a lot of it is coming from younger kids. People who have these arrogant and racist attitudes quite often are acting out because of problems they have at home or elsewhere in their lives.

“Most people are very good. I work in a company and we have all nationalities and we all get on great together, that's the reality.

Moradi is a powerful example of how the GAA’s inclusive approach can help migrants to this country become part of their local communities and he’s hopeful his story will soon become the norm.

“There's going to be a lot more in the coming years and the face of the GAA will change,” he says.

“There might not be that many at county level yet, but there are more at more playing Gaelic Games at club level and underage.

“There's no better way to integrate migrants in this country than through the GAA because there are GAA clubs all over the country.

“It can take time to get them involved but you just have to work hard at it.”