Fans and media appear to be upset with a variety of things during Ray Rice's press conference about the assault of his wife, Janay Rice.
The first and largest thing that people are upset about is the idea of Ray Rice's wife, Janay Rice, having a statement during the press conference that included her talking about her role in the incident and apologizing for it.
During Ray Rice's press conference, they took the time to have Janay talk to the media and fans. During her time on camera, she echoed Ray Rice's statements that they were both sorry for the incident and that they have been working hard to better themselves as a couple and as human beings. What seems to be the root of the problem is that while she had some role in the incident, it appeared that Ray passed the blame over to his wife and she was apologizing for being knocked out by her husband.
Team should NOT be tweeting this. Shameful. "@Ravens Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident."— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) May 23, 2014
I don't understand the backlash about the wife apologizing. She did play a role.— Samuel Njoku (@Ravens_Examiner) May 23, 2014
In the public court of opinion, Rice has been seen as the aggressor and the person that should have walked away. By not doing so, he put himself more in the wrong than his wife in the eyes of fans. It definitely doesn't help that there is video of him dragging his unconscious wife from an elevator. Regardless of how fair it is towards Ray Rice, this was the time for him to take more responsibility, at least publicly, and condemn his actions. Fans will always take it as Rice had his wife, the mother of his child who was in the front row, take responsibility for getting assaulted.
Another large issue is Ray Rice's use of an analogy to indicate his resolve to improve as a person when he said:
Failure is not getting knocked down, but not getting up.
Given that he was charged for assault and there was released video of him dragging his unconscious wife from an elevator being circulated around the web, this was a poor choice of words for sure. Several fans and media members have publicly wondered where Ravens' PR, Rice's agent and lawyer all were on reviewing his statement before he read it. Needless to say that his quote will be used for quite a while by media on an issue that was nearly forgotten by most fans.
The last issue really was that Rice never publicly apologized to his wife even though she was sitting right next to him. While ultmately it appears that she has forgiven him for the incident, it would have gone a long way to resolve the issue with fans and spousal abuse organizations to have Rice look at his wife and apologize for his actions. Not doing so opens him and the Ravens back up to scrutiny on the issue, which is the last thing that anyone really wanted given how Rice has been able to put the legal aspects behind him this week through his acceptance in a pretrial program.
Rice failed to apologize to his wife publicly which is a gross oversight. That's the whole point for the conference, right?— Samuel Njoku (@Ravens_Examiner) May 23, 2014
Overall, Rice and the Ravens are taking heat over how little responsibility it appears that Rice took during the conference. Through having his wife apologize for her "role in this incident" to not apologizing to his wife publicly to his poor choice of words, this issue is going to get far more attention than the NFL, the Ravens or the Rice family would like.