Former University of Miami SG Robert Hite (28 points last night in Sioux Falls’ 119-117 defeat of Dakota) chats with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman about his rocky path to the D-League.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Hite says.
The place was the 100 block of Alton Road, on Miami Beach, at 3:53 a.m. on Jan. 21.
Finishing off a night that included Dwyane Wade’s 25th birthday party, Hite was driving his white BMW home, when he was pulled over for speeding.
A roadside sobriety test led to a request that Hite submit to a breath analysis. He acquiesced, producing a reading well below the legal limit. Nonetheless, the soft-spoken rookie was held for the next eight hours, part of a policy designed to keep inebriated drivers from returning to the streets.
He wound up missing that afternoon’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks.
He also wound up not playing in another game for the Heat, released two weeks later after a paid leave.
The day after his release, all charges, including the speeding citation, were dropped.
Hite’s blood alcohol level that fateful night? .042. The state’s impairment threshold? .08.
“If you blow a .05, the law presumes you’re not impaired,” attorney David Oscar Markus says from his Miami office. “He, by the law, is presumed not impaired, and they still left him in jail for eight hours.
“So he misses the game the next day, and we all know what happens from there.”
The perception was that Hite had been run off because of what ultimately proved to be, at worst, an error in judgment.
“We didn’t put that out there, the public perception that followed,” coach Pat Riley says. “We just felt it was best for him to be away from the team. He wasn’t suspended. Just let the smoke clear. Based on the initial police report, we felt that was the best way to handle it.
“Later on that week, when we found out it wasn’t what it was portrayed as, the fact that he still was out at 4 o’clock in the morning before a 1 o’clock game, and the fact he was stopped by the police, then I thought what we did by keeping him away was very lenient, based on what a lot of people would do.”