CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — It looked like a normal Saturday on Franklin Street. But history was made inside Chapel Hill Sportswear because 30 days ago UNC star defensive back Tony Grimes signing autographs here would have been illegal.
“There is no way we could’ve done this 30 days ago,” said Chapel Hill sportswear manager Holly Dedmond.
This is the new name, image, and likeness rules were put to work. The store and Grimes were working together to help him sell his new custom logo t-shirt as well as meet fans, take pictures and sign autographs.
This being the first event, the store wanted to make sure they got it right.
“In the past two weeks we have had numerous phone calls, zoom calls, text emails with compliance, marketing, football office — you name it,” said Dedmond. “We have tried to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.
Grimes more than did his part bringing in a steady stream of UNC Tar Heel fans.
“I saw it promoted on Twitter and figured I’d come down here to meet him,” said UNC fan Michael Armstrong “We are big fans.”
“I knew I was going to have people here, but it’s been an amazing turnout already. It’s been 30 minutes and shirts are sold out, literally,” said Grimes. “It’s crazy how everything is set up and seeing people come in getting autographs, taking pictures — it feels good.”
“It’s a win-win for both of us he gets to promote his t-shirt and his brand and then we could get customers in the store,” said Dedmond. “Hopefully they will buy a t-shirt or jersey or buy a football for him to sign.”
Sometimes it’s not a shirt or a picture but something a bit more personal, like the request he had to sign a fan’s forehead.
“I was like ‘might as well get my forehead signed’ so I got my forehead signed,” said UNC fan Nick Ebel.
Ebel said he’s definitely not washing his head for a few days.
Undoubtedly, it was the first of many events — and maybe foreheads signed — but either way the event couldn’t have gone smoother.
“It’s like one of my dreams, things I’ve been thinking about since high school and getting to college,” said Grimes. “Having that notoriety like ‘oh, it’s Tony Grimes can I have your autograph its something’ I’ve been dreaming about that it’s crazy how it’s here.”