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Second Liberty player tests positive for coronavirus, hopes to return for WNBA season

UConn star Megan Walker selected by Liberty with No. 9 pick of WNBA draft Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Megan Walker, a rookie forward on the New York Liberty, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the team announced. Walker, who’s asymptomatic, was tested before the Liberty flew to the WNBA “bubble” in Bradenton, Florida.

The team hopes Walker, taken ninth in the WNBA Draft last month, will be ready for the start of the abbreviated season which will be played 100 miles west of the NBA “bubble.”

The team released a statement late Friday afternoon.

Three days ago, the Liberty’s second year player, Asia Durr, opted out. The overall No. 2 pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft has been fighting COVID-19 since June 8, she said in a post on Twitter.

Durr and Walker become the eighth and ninth player on Joe Tsai’s New York hoops teams to test positive. Four Nets tested positive in March and three in the last month.

The Liberty officially started their training camp on Thursday. Sabrina Ionescu, the overall No. 1 pick, and Kia Nurse, one of the team’s few veterans, spoke the first day.

The Liberty also posted video Thursday of Ionescu working out at the IMG Academy in Bradenton where games begin July 25.

The team not only has seven rookies on the roster but its head coach Walt Hopkins is also a rookie.

Meanwhile, Layshia Clarendon, acquired by the Liberty in the off-season, has been leading the players union charge in its campaign to get the league oust Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler, who’s also a U.S. senator from Georgia in the midst of an election campaign, wrote WNBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbert questioning the league’s decision to support the Black Lives Matter movement during its 2020 WNBA season.

Clarendon is both first vice president of the WNBA Players union and a member of the recently formed WNBA Social Justice Council. She responded Thursday with an article in the Undefeated, calling Loeffler the “anti-movement” and her letter “our Donald Sterling moment,” referring to the then the Clippers owner who was banned from the NBA and forced to sell his Clippers interest following disclosure of racist remarks and actions.

Here’s an excerpt...

Kelly knows that in this moment, distancing herself from the WNBA and BLM only strengthens her political power. She knows what base she’s appealing to. The same base that 45 has empowered to be openly hateful and divisive, all in the name of free speech.

The saying, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression, couldn’t be more poignant.

The league has responded to Loeffler with a statement, “The WNBA ... will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice,”