FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons defensive lineman Ra’Shede Hageman, who was inactive for the season opener against Tampa Bay on Sunday, was involved in a domestic violence case in March and charged with three misdemeanors in DeKalb County.
From an incident with the mother of his child, Hageman was charged with interfering with a call for emergency help, battery family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree.
The case is still pending and no court dates have been set, per the Solicitor’s Office. Hageman, who turned 26 in August, is currently free on $7,500 bond.
He was booked into the DeKalb jail at 12:29 a.m. March 24 and released about 13 hours later.
“This is under review of the NFL’s personal conduct policy,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said.
On March 21, Hageman allegedly pulled the woman’s hair and pushed her down in the parking lot of her Shallowford Road apartment complex, causing her to have lacerations on her left hand and elbow, according to his arrest warrants.
Then, Hageman allegedly took his girlfriend’s phone to prevent her from calling 911, warrants say. The couple’s young child was present during the alleged violence.
The Falcons were aware of the case and turned over the information to the league office.
“We are aware of the serious allegations,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “Under the player conduct policy, we’re not allowed to comment on any investigations forthright. We have been aware of those, but won’t further comment until the league comes to a final conclusion and all of the facts have been brought forth.”
The Falcons said that Hageman was not active against the Bucs because they felt they were going to play a lot of nickel defense and elected to activate defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw over Hageman.
Hageman, who’s 6 feet 6, 310 pounds, was selected by the Falcons in the second round (37th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.
After the Ray Rice case in 2014, which involved him punching his then-fiancée in the face, the NFL has been more sensitive to domestic violence cases.
Since the Michael Vick federal dog-fighting case, the Falcons have attempted to steer clear of any off-the-field distractions and players with known character issues. Team owner Arthur Blank clearly acknowledges that the team has what’s callled a “Falcons filter” with regard to players with character issues.
In August, the Falcons immediately waived cornerback Torrey Green, who was under investigation in Utah for rape and sexual assault charges dating back to his college days at Utah State. He was an undrafted player.
In May of 2015, linebacker Prince Shembo was released after his role in the death of his girl friend’s dog was discovered.
However, the team currently plans to move forward with Hageman on the roster.
“Each situation is different,” Quinn said. “For us, this one, we are certainly going to allow the appropriate channels to take place.”
Quinn would not address if Hageman, who was not available to the media during the open locker room session on Monday, faced any penalties from the team.
Since the Rice incident and his subsequent indefinite suspension from the league, the NFL has held several seminars and have tried to increase awareness on the issue of domestic violence.
“There’s been a number of (seminars),” Quinn said. “I think the league in particular and Kevin Winston in the player engagement office here really do a good job in their part of understanding and helping to educate (the players) on issues that come up and how best to resolve them.”
Quinn reiterated that the decision to de-activate Hageman, who’s been active for every game of his career until Sunday, was a football decision and not related to the case.
“We thought it was going to be a bigger nickel game,” Quinn said. “So we chose to have Courtney (Upshaw) up instead. Not because of the allegations. This is a straight football decision. It’s a player conduct issue and it’s in the league’s hands. I’m not allowed to discuss it further.”
Hageman has played in 32 games and has made 11 starts for the Falcons. He has two career sacks.