A Washington state high school principal who called NBA star Kobe Bryant a "rapist" and said karma had caught up with him has been placed on administrative leave following backlash to her Facebook post.
Liza Sejkora, head principal at Camas High School near the Oregon border, posted the comment Jan. 26, the same day Bryant, the retired Los Angeles Lakers player, and eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter, were killed in a helicopter crash.
The post, which has since been deleted, read: "Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today." Sejkora ended the post with a shrug emoji.
Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell said in a statement Tuesday that Sejkora had received threats over the post and was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Sejkora has apologized, saying the comment was a "personal, visceral reaction" to reports that Bryant had died.
"I want to apologize for suggesting that a person's death is deserved," she said in a letter sent to students and parents. "It was inappropriate and tasteless. ... In education, we remind students to think before they post online, especially when feelings are inflamed. We also teach our students about context. My emotions and past experiences got the best of me in that moment."
She concluded the letter by asking for a second chance.
"I've learned an important lesson and I hope that I can earn your trust back," she wrote.
Sejkora told NBC affiliate KGW of Portland that she hopes the community will accept her apology and that her comment won't tarnish the school's reputation.
"In an educational institution, we hope that students learn that you make mistakes, you own it, you learn from it and move on. That's how we grow as humans," she told KGW. "I am hoping to model that I messed up pretty big here."
Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado in 2003, an allegation he denied. The athlete, who married his wife, Vanessa Bryant, in 2001, admitted to having sex with the woman but said it was consensual. He was charged with rape, but the case was dropped after the woman declined to testify. A civil suit was settled.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people died after the helicopter they were in crashed in Calabasas, California.
Sejkora, Camas High School and the Camas School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment.