Ventura County

Football Player Suspended 5 Years For Hitting Referee

Player Claims Punch To Face Was Accidental

Football Player Suspended 5 Years For Hitting Referee

VENTURA, Calif. - A football player has been suspended for 60 months after allegedly hitting a referee during a game at Ventura College Saturday night.

Ventura County prosecutors are also in the process of deciding whether to charge the junior college football player with felony battery.

Mount San Antonio College freshman Bernard Schirmer is accused of punching the referee during Saturday night's game.  Police say a scuffle broke out on the field between Ventura College and Mt. San Antonio College Players.  One of the game's officials got in the middle of the scuffle and was guiding Schirmer back to his side of the field when Schirmer hit the ref in the head, knocking him unconscious.  The entire incident was caught on camera.

Schirmer has since said the hit to the face was a complete accident, and that he was actually trying to hit himself in the helmet.

Schirmer was ejected from the game and later arrested on suspicion of battery. He posted bail Sunday.

The Southern California Football Association on Monday suspended Bernard Schirmer for 60 months. Mt. San Antonio College said in a statement that the school believes the hit was unintentional and plans to appeal the suspension.

The referee was not hospitalized and is doing OK.

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