The United Rugby Championship has sacked a social media agency over the flippant treatment of a concussion incident in a post on the tournament’s TikTok account that was managed by them.

The termination of the contract was swift yesterday after Cardiff player Aled Summerhill highlighted the post on his own Twitter account saying he “didn’t think that head injuries were something to joke about.”

The original post has suggested he was having a snooze on the pitch after being knocked out while playing against the Lions in South Africa.

The terms of the termination prevent the United Rugby Championship from naming the agency but Sport for Business can confirm that it is neither an Irish Agency nor Roc Nation, with whom the tournament shares a substantial partnership.

The agency in question is a global one with bases in London and around the world and has a substantial roster of other sporting properties including a number in rugby.

In a statement, the tournament which returns with a bang this weekend as Leinster and Munster face each other said that “The United Rugby Championship has apologised to Aled Summerhill of Cardiff Rugby after a social media post focusing on an incident that led to a concussive injury was posted to our official TikTok account.”

“Injuries, and in particular head injuries, are always a serious matter requiring sensitivity and this post was in contravention of the URC’s values and editorial guidelines.”

“The oversight processes around publishing to our official channels have rigorous protocols but in this instance unfortunately they were not followed as a result of an individual error. The post has been removed and actions have been taken to ensure this never occurs again.”

“As a professional rugby union competition, the URC applies the Head Injury Assessment processes, which are set out by World Rugby. Alongside our clubs and unions, the URC takes the physical wellbeing of players extremely seriously and this is always of the highest priority.”

“Over recent seasons the URC has facilitated a number of trials and used medical technology to allow medical personnel to identify injuries in real-time in order to improve player welfare. Such examples are the Hawk-Eye medical surveillance technology implemented at league games since 2017, trials of gum shields that relay data on head collisions and the trial of Eye Guide – an eye-tracking technology aimed at diagnosing concussive injuries.”

“The URC would like to extend its apology to Aled’s family, friends, teammates, his club and anyone else who rightly found the relevant post to be inappropriate.”

“The URC has investigated the events that led to this post with the content agency contracted to post to the URC TikTok account and as a result, the supplier’s relationship with URC has been terminated.”

The third-party outsourcing of creative content production is a regular feature of the professional sports environment, and the kind of real-time environment would be enormously appealing to creative-minded sports fans.

The power to represent a moment of magic is great but so too is the responsibility to be fully attuned to the nuance that can often exist around sport and those who play.

Some will reject the dismissal of the agency as being too close to a cancel culture approach and that it was meant with no harm but in reality it was something that stepped too far beyond the line of acceptable and the URC action has to be regarded as the right course of action.