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College football player suspended five years for knocking out referee

September 13, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootball
A California community college football player has been suspended five years after an incident last weekend where he knocked a referee out cold during a game.

Screenshot via YouTube, ABC News.
Screenshot via YouTube, ABC News.

Bernard Schirmer, a lineman at Mount San Antonio College, was arrested after the game on suspicion of battery, though the district attorney has not yet decided whether to file criminal charges. Schirmer, who told The Associated Press that he accidentally punched the referee while trying to slap his own helmet, said he was shocked at the lengthy suspension. As was the school, which indicated it would appeal the ruling.

Video, which can be seen here, shows the referee trying to hold back Schirmer during an altercation with an opposing player. Schirmer then swings his right hand in the area of his helmet, hitting the referee in the head. The referee fell to the ground and remained motionless for some time before exiting the game.

From The Associated Press:

Schirmer, who stands 6-foot-6 (2 meters) and weighs 275 pounds (122 kilograms), said he was having words with a defensive end who had pushed him.

“I let him get the best of me,” Schirmer said. “I tried to approach him and my teammates were holding me back and I had no idea that the official was, like, hugging me or something.”

Schirmer said when he becomes frustrated or angry on the football field, he hits his helmet to refocus — once even giving himself a mild concussion.

“The next thing I know, the ref was on the ground … I honestly thought somebody else hit him,” Schirmer said.

The Southern California Football Association believes the referee will be back working this coming weekend. The report noted that he had not yet seen a physician.

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