THE BLOG
10/11/2011 09:43 am ET Updated Dec 11, 2011

Here's How to End the NBA Lockout... Immediately!

The NBA players and NBA owners need to pay for the damage they cause "the little people" and, ultimately, all strikes and lockouts must do the same.

Make parties responsible for their irresponsible actions -- instead of allowing "collateral damage" or the foisting of negative externalities onto the general public -- and, instantly, the NBA and all other strikes or lockouts cease to be economically viable options. Make parties responsible and, magically, the intractable issues that divide labor and management everywhere become instantly solvable.

Would we, for example, ever consider letting BP spill their oil and not pay for the damage they cause?

What about Exxon and their Valdez damage?

Or, what about two rich kids playing "chicken" with their fathers' new Porsches who crash into some homes and cause hundreds of thousands in damages?

Ending the strike/lockout dramas in baseball, football, basketball and other sports and all labor-management disputes is really simple... it's all about simply making parties take responsibility for the damage they cause.

If the NBA millionaire players and the NBA millionaire owners want to play the "Mine is bigger than yours" game or beat each other into submission, fine. I have no problem with that.

But pay for it.

I have no problem with labor striking or with management exercising their right to lock labor out

But pay for it.

Add up all the lost wages and lost revenue and send the "Damage that Your Inability to Work Things Out Caused Innocent People" Bill and let the owners and players split it, according to the percentage of fault or bad faith in negotiating, as determined by a mutually agreed upon Arbitrator or a jury.

There is an implied contract -- with peanut vendors, merchandise vendors, parking lots, restaurants, hotels and a whole host of people whose jobs depend on their local NBA team playing 41 games right there in their home town -- that those 41 games will be played. Violate that implied contract and pay the consequences.

Why should it be otherwise, legally or morally? Why in the world should the guy who throws bags of peanuts to you in your seat or the parking garage attendant who brings you your valet parked car after the game literally lose his or her minimum wage job because the NBA owners and NBA players can't decide how to divide billions of dollars of revenue?

EVERY game that doesn't get played has financial consequences that can pretty easily be determined and measured. Personal injury and product liability attorneys do this kind of thing every day in every courthouse in America. Add those dollars up and send the bill to the players and owners who are -- in a very real sense -- playing the same kind of juvenile and irresponsible game of "chicken" as some macho teenagers.

What will happen -- really, really quickly -- is that THOSE costs will tip the scales and make continuing the "chicken" game not pencil out, under any circumstance. And that way, the strike or lockout that will, almost certainly get worked out at some point -- after each side gets to do their Neanderthal bludgeoning of the other -- gets worked out BEFORE anyone else gets hurt and America gets the fantastic entertainment that is NBA basketball (or Major League Baseball or NFL football, etc.) without interruption and without the drama and the trauma that these ridiculous high level temper tantrums cause.

And besides ending the immediate NBA conflict, making people take responsibility for their actions can actually change the world....

If we really did practice "Honest Accounting" and require every business to incorporate the true "Negative Externalities" of their products and business practices, this, alone, would make Wall Street more responsible and generate better products from corporate America. If we added the trillions spent by American taxpayers to protect oil supplies in Iraq into the cost of gasoline or the billions spent on overcoming obesity and diabetes and other adverse health consequences into the cost of Coca Cola and McDonald's junk food products -- we'd pretty instantly have clean, renewable energy, our kids would be drinking and eating much healthier food and our entire economic system would be more fair and infinitely more sustainable.

Richard Greene is a former attorney and mediator who currently is a communication strategist and public speaking coach to politicians, businesses and celebrities in 31 countries around the world. He teaches courses in "The Physics of Conflict Resolution" and "The 5 Communication Secrets of The World's Greatest Speakers", based on his book "Words That Shook The World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events". Richard@WordsThatShookTheWorld.com, www.RichardGreene.org