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J.J. McCarthy’s ‘Free Harbaugh’ shirt sends perfect message about suspension

McCarthy has Harbaugh’s back.

Maryland v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is currently serving a three-game suspension, self-imposed by the university.

While athletic director Warde Manuel claims the suspension is Michigan’s “way of addressing mistakes” Michigan has agreed to in an attempt to further the process of an NCAA investigation, Jim Harbaugh said earlier this week that the suspension “feels like a baseball bat to the kneecaps”.

Before Michigan’s season opener against East Carolina, quarterback J.J. McCarthy wore a shirt to stick up for his head coach who won’t be on the sideline during the game. The shirt said “Free Harbaugh”.

Harbaugh nor Michigan’s players can really speak on the NCAA matter, but McCarthy was able to send a message without verbally saying a word. It’s clear McCarthy and the Michigan team have Harbaugh’s back, with linebackers coach Chris Partridge saying earlier this week that the team would play with their hair on fire for him.

Michigan suspending Harbaugh to further the process of a ridiculous at best NCAA investigation feels head scratching on the surface, especially when the NCAA violated its own rules by releasing a statement on the matter.

McCarthy is someone who marches to the beat of his own drum and his “Free Harbaugh” shirt is a reflection of that. While some may find the shirt to be humorous, it isn’t meant to be — the only joke here is the NCAA itself.