J.J. McCarthy used some tape and a marker to make a statement before Michigan’s season opener on Saturday.
The starting quarterback wore a No. 4 Jim Harbaugh t-shirt jersey -- turned backwards so the name and number were in the front -- and added “FREE” above the last name.
Harbaugh, Michigan’s head coach since 2015, was suspended for the first three games of the season by Michigan amid an NCAA investigation.
That includes Saturday’s game against East Carolina (12:06 p.m. ET, Peacock) at Michigan Stadium.
McCarthy, a junior in his second season as the starter, wore the shirt as he exited the team bus outside the stadium
and again once on the field before switching to his official uniform. Several other Wolverines wore Harbaugh t-shirts as well.
Leading up to the game, Michigan players have backed their coach and said they will be motivated by his absence.
After facing East Carolina, the Wolverines host UNLV and Bowling Green to wrap the nonconference portion of their schedule. Harbaugh is set to return for the Big Ten opener against Rutgers on Sep. 23.
Much like McCarthy, Michigan men’s basketball player Jett Howard wore a similar shirt -- “FREE JUWAN” -- before a game last season in support his head coach and father, Juwan Howard.