It's the 10% rule. Same idea in the military as it is with cops. We only see or pay attention to the 10% who ruin it for everyone. Yeah, there are some dickhole cops out there, but most of the negative attitudes are due to sweeping generalizations built off that 10% than the 90% who really do give a shit and do things right. From the sounds of it, some people have had some pretty shitty runs of luck too.
Reminds me of that story I heard about Captain Chontosh
when I was in. Didn't see it in the press because they'd rather cover the atrocities at Abu Graib or that piece of shit Corporal who burned his pregnant girlfriend. Nobody hears the stories about the real heroes (and putting the uniform on does not automatically make you a hero) both in the LEO world and in the military. I knew some real shitbags when I was in, but that's everywhere you go. You'll never get away from shitbags and their antics. That's the way it seems anyway, and cops have so much power that it is easy for them to abuse and manipulate to the point where it's just not right. How do we fix that? I don't know. How do you fix human nature and greed which is hardcoded into our society and DNA???
As far as atheletes go, some of their stories may indeed be heroic. I don't know if it's even fair to compare them to the heroes like Captain Chontosh, CMOH awardees, or cops who do go out there every day because they actually want to do good.... Different kind of heroes completely IMO. Apples and oranges are both "fruit", but can't be compared adequately.