A story on the Sun-Times website has been making the rounds today on the interwebs, that of Robert Ulmer, a Southwest Side man who was killed in a brawl early Sunday morning outside of the Apartment Lounge (3806 W. 47th St.). The Sun-Times story leads readers to believe it was a fight between Cubs fan: that Ulmer was a Cubs fan and that he participated in a brawl that started between a relative and two other Cubs fans.
But this afternoon, Ulmer's family spoke to the Trib and denied the S-T's account of the events, an account that draws particular attention to the fandom aspect of the story (the S-T story lists the source of this information as a family member speaking to police). Ulmer's family is denying the fact that Ulmer was a Cubs fan at all.
Gloria Polendo, Ulmer's common-law wife of 13 years, said the attackers came into the bar looking for a fight and that their assault on Ulmer was an unprovoked random act of violence.
"They went in there and started fighting, they killed my husband and they left," she said.
Polendo said she and Ulmer rarely went out and did not know if the two men who beat her husband were regulars at the bar. She said she and Ulmer did not even watch the Cubs game that night.
It's not a surprise that the focus on Ulmer's alleged sports allegiance was honed in on by media outlets. Sports fans behaving badly is a hook that draws in readers; it's something that even we've written about from time to time. But now Ulmer's family finds themselves not mourning but rather answering questions from the media about whether or not the deceased Robert was a Cubs fan. In the end, the argument over whether or not he was a Cubs fan drowns out the more important event here: a shocking, violent death.