When you're watching Michigan play football this fall, you might wonder why the number "4" looks a little different. In fact, you'll be seeing a different version of "4" on any uniform with that number in any sport that Michigan plays this year. According to the Detroit News, the reason the "4" will look different has to do with a story about former Michigan Wolverine (and 38th U.S. President) Gerald Ford (who wore #48) and his best friend on the team, Willis Ward.

In October 1934, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets refused to play football against Michigan, if Ward, who was the second African-American to play for the Wolverines, was going to be on the field. Michigan decided to keep Ward off the field and Ford threatened to quit the team over it, until Ward asked him to play the game. In the team photo that year, Ford and Ward are sitting next to each other. The new "4"s are a throwback to what they looked like in that photo.

Here's the story.


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